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Thoughts from November 2017

Thoughts from November 2017

I love the holiday time. There is something magical about having so many big holidays right after one another. I also love being about to see my family, especially now that I live almost 2,000 miles away. November was a very good month, even if it was stressful. Here’s the rundown.

Links You’ll Love

Vancouver, Victoria, and Port Angeles

My parents came to Washington for the week of Thanksgiving, which means I got to get out of the house! We did a really fun trip (which I’ll make a full post about later this month), which involved driving north to Vancouver, BC, then taking a ferry west to Victoria, BC, then a ferry south to Port Angeles, WA, and finally driving back to my home in Lacey, WA. A lot of steps I know, but it was unanimous that we all fell in love with Victoria, BC.

Seattle

Since it was my parents’ first time here, we also spent a day in Seattle. We went up the Space Needle (which I hadn’t done yet), explored Chihuly Glass Museum (an awesome experience), and visited a very busy black Friday at Pike’s Place Market.  It reminded me of how much I love this place I have chosen for myself and how much I want to spend some time walking around Seattle.

Almost Breaking Even

I’m probably going to break even a the end of December and I was pretty close this month. It’s really hard being so broke because there is no way to say that I’ve fallen on hard times. I chose to give up my full-time job and launch myself into the world of freelance work. I chose to be broke for a while. It’s very, very encouraging to see how close I am to having my bare minimum. I can actually make this dream work!! And you can too (though you should start to build clients while you are at your full-time job. Learn from my mistakes.)

I am so very thankful for my family this month. Seeing them and getting out for a while was just what I needed. Also, they bought whole, fresh crabs for Thanksgiving dinner and there are leftovers. I’m not sure if the love or the leftover food is better to me. I hope your December goes well, I’ll be checking in in the new year!

Breaking Free From the 9-to-5 Life

Breaking Free From the 9-to-5 Life

Transitioning to working from home has been easy for the most part. But there are still a few areas that have been hard for me to shake. I’m guessing that a lot of people who make this transition feel the same way I do.

Get Rid of Non-Productivity

With my old job I was paid strictly based on the time I was in the office. This included bathroom breaks and making my morning tea and chatting with my coworkers, along with my actual time working. Now, I am only paid when I am actively doing work for my clients. My metric of productivity is having to change to a model based on actual work time instead of office time. It’s a transition for anyone who starts working at home.

Get Rid of Self-Doubt

Whenever anyone transitions to a new job, their skills need to flex. It’s even more relevant when transitioning to virtual work. There is also a lot less training available for someone who works at home. I’m having to constantly remind myself that I have the skills to perform well and the ability to learn quickly. It’s okay when I don’t know things! It only means that I need to research (which I’m getting very good at.)

Get Rid of Work Week Blues

It’s so easy for me to get bummed out when I’m faced with a new week. It’s been instilled in me since I first started school when I was five! I don’t need to dread Monday anymore, even if that is my ingrained reaction. I love my job and the freedom it gives me! It’s going to take a while before my automatic reaction to weekdays is changed to excitement, but I’ll keep reminding myself.

These are relatively minor distractions in my day, but still important to talk about. Have you felt similar feelings in your transition to working at home? Do you have any suggestions for me?

Thoughts from October 2017

Thoughts from October 2017

October has been a great month. It felt like fall came all at once to the Pacific Northwest. I’m trying to enjoy the last sunny days before the rain and clouds descend. Here are some of the things that happened this month.

Links I Love

You Can’t Freak Out About Stuff Like This: This sort of thinking changed my life for the better. There’s not enough time in the day to spend it being upset.

How to Add Social Media Icons to Your Gmail Signature: It’s important you get your social media and website links in front of as many eyes as you can.

1% Productivity Gains: The Ultimate Guide: I love Intelligent Change and recommend signing up for their newsletter to get more articles like this.

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Virtual Assistant Business?: if you are interested in working at home, this article is a great place to start.

I Have More Clients

At the end of September I had two clients, now I have a few more! It’s really exciting to see my new business growing at a steady pace. Even though money is tight, I can see the end of the tunnel when I’ll have a sustainable business. I just have to keep my eyes on my goals.

Started Running Again

Back in 2015 and 2016, I ran 13 5ks in 14 months (finding a 5k in February in Wisconsin is really hard.) After I completed that goal, I slacked off big time in my running routine. I got back on the course this month! I live near several trails, so I have no end to places to run and I’m using the Runner’s World Training Journal to keep track of the new habit I’m developing (affiliate link.)

This was also a quiet month. I’ve been concentrating on my business, so I haven’t traveled anywhere very interesting. If you want to see into my life more, follow me on Instagram. This is especially good for cat pictures. How has your October been? Are you ready for the holiday season?

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5 Podcasts Perfect for Halloween

5 Podcasts Perfect for Halloween

Halloween is tomorrow! It’s the time everything spooky and creepy (and pumpkin spice?) comes out to play. I have some awesome podcasts to get you in the mood, ranging from the fairly benign to the downright creepy.

1. Stuff You Missed In History Class

Every October, the ladies of Stuff You Missed dig into Halloween-themed episodes. There haves been topics like “Was there a real Sweeney Todd?,” “The History of Halloween Candy,” and biographies on some of the most famous horror actors of the 20th century. They have an extensive backlog, so you won’t run short on historically-based Halloween episodes.

2. Thinking Sideways

Thinking Sideways is a trio of mystery enthusiasts that delve into the unknown. Each Halloween season, they go over their grisliest cases, which usually includes a lot of murder. A few of my favorites have been the Miyazawa Family Murders, The Murder of Martha Moxley, and The Lake Bodom Murders. If you like a good mystery and fantastic hosts, this podcast is for you.

3. Two Girls, One Ghost

If you ignore the weird title, this is one spooky podcast. Friends, Corinne and Sabrina, go through paranormal encounters on a theme, from listener emails, and their own pasts. They truly believe in the paranormal, which makes this podcast even creepier. I don’t really believe in the paranormal encounters, but I had to stop listening to this at night.

4. My Favorite Murder

This is hands down my favorite podcast. It has a lot of murder and a lot of laughs, which is perfect for anyone who gets creeped out by grisly murder. In each episode, the hosts talk about what is happening in their lives and cover two murders. I loved the episode about Ted Bundy (#61) and the Spiderman of Denver (#85). While this podcast can be an acquired taste, I would suggest checking it out if you are interested in true crime.

5. The Generation Why Podcast

This podcast that covers a lot of unsolved crime and is much more serious than the previous podcasts. They cover one mystery a week and discuss the possible theories behind it. There are a lot of murder mysteries in their backlog, including several episodes about the Zodiac Killer and other serial killers. Check them out if you like a well-researched mystery.

Have a Happy Halloween! I hope it’s as creepy as you want it to be! If you have any comments about these selections or want to tell me your favorite podcast, please comment!

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3 Areas for Easy Orchid Care

3 Areas for Easy Orchid Care

You have probably heard it said that orchids are hard to grow. Maybe you have even had an orchid die while in your care. It can be very frustrating. I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be as difficult as everyone says it is! I’ve boiled my orchid care down to three main areas: potting medium, watering, and sunlight. If you can get these three areas on lockdown, then you can care for your orchid!

Potting Medium

The best potting medium for an orchid is bark, since it can hold a little water, but is also loose enough that the roots can breath (which they like.) My first orchid died because it had moss packed too tightly around its roots so it was never able to dry out. The roots literally rotted away. I learned to replant any moss bound orchids as soon as they were done flowering. You can find orchid repotting mix at any home garden center, I’ve included a link to the equivalent I found on Amazon.

Watering

Watering can also be another concerning thing in orchid care. I’ve found a really simple way to do it once the orchid is potted in bark. Once a week, bring your orchid to the sink and run water over the bark. I usually let the water start to fill the pot before I set it aside. Be careful not to let any water sit in the base of the leaves; this will also rot your orchid. Use the corner of a paper towel to mop up any extra water. Then you let orchids drain before putting them back.

If your orchid is still in moss, I would use the ice chip method. Put enough ice cubes to cover the surface of the moss and let them melt. This means less water is being introduced to your orchid, so it has more of a chance of drying out between waterings. I wouldn’t use this for orchids in bark because the water won’t penetrate down to the lowest roots.

The lighter color on this leaf is scarring from sunburn. I’ve learned my lesson!

Sunlight

Orchids are finicky with light. They like a lot of sunlight, but if they spend a ton of time in direct sunlight, they will get sunburns (yes, plants can get sunburnt.) The key is to find a place where it’s bright a lot of the time, but the direct sunlight is low. In my current house, I have the orchids on my desk in a window that gets a lot of light in the morning, but because of trees, doesn’t get much of it directly. Look around your house for a window that gets light for hours a time, if anything, you can put up a sheer curtain to offset the light.

Once I figured these three areas out, I started collecting more orchids. I have five in my care right now that are all happy! Of course, that wasn’t without trial and error (I’ve also killed two orchids to learn these tricks.) If you have any questions about caring for your orchids, please ask them! I have a Pinterest board dedicated to plants if you want to check that out. Happy growing!

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Thoughts from September 2017

Thoughts from September 2017

Another month has come and gone. It feels like I learn so much about myself and my business with each passing month. October marks two months since I moved to Washington. It’s still the best choice I could have made! I’m learning endurance both in my mind and in my body. My business continues to grow and I’ve been working on learning more and more about how to run it successfully. Overall, it’s been a great month.

Links I Love

Olympic Peninsula and Mowich Lake

I took two awesome trips this month. The first was to the Olympic Peninsula with a friend of mine. We got to see Lake Quinault, Gatton Creek Falls, the Pacific Ocean, Forks, and La Push. Which means I got to check off a few more things on my Olympic Peninsula Bucket List! I also went on a hike later in the month with the aunt and uncle of a friend of mine.  We hiked up from Mowich Lake, saw Mt. Rainier, walked down and around to Spray Falls. My heels got shredded, but it was so awesome!

Two Clients

I finally have a second client! It may seem strange that it’s taking me so long to get clients, but it’s really normal. There are many people I’m talking to about becoming clients, but it can take a while to actually make them clients. Which is understandable, we both need to make sure it’s a good fit and my skills match the task. I’m really excited to get started and continue growing my business.

Babysitting Axel

The final thing happening this month is starting my babysitting job. My friend needs a babysitter for her son, Axel, three days a week and I get to be the one he spends time with. It’s only for a few hours a week, but I’m so excited to have baby time and another form of steady income. Wish me luck!

This month has been very good. I’m looking forward to seeing what October has to offer. I know I’ll be going down to Portland for a day and my goal is to get two clients from the people I’m talking to at the moment. Hopefully, it will be as good as September!

How was your September? What good things happened to you? What does October have in store for you?

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Questions to Ask to Keep Yourself From Buying Things You Don’t Need

Questions to Ask to Keep Yourself From Buying Things You Don’t Need

We all do it. We enter a store looking for one or two items and end up leaving with way more than we intended. This not only hurts our wallets but can lead to owning too many things. I’ve developed four questions that I ask myself whenever I start to divert from my shopping list, so I only go home with things that I actually need and can afford.

1. Do I need this item?

This is pretty simple, is this item something you need or something you want. Toilet paper and lettuce could be things you need. On sale wrapping paper or a cute pencil holder could be things you only want. I use this question to gauge if it’s something I forgot to put on my list or a passing fancy.

2. Have I been wanting to buy this for a while?

Have you been wanting to buy a new bathmat for months and you just found one on sale? Maybe this is the time to finally buy it. But you haven’t been thinking about buying that glassware set, in fact, you don’t really need new glasses. Skip it, even if it’s on sale. This gives you the freedom to take up low prices, but only on items that will actually help you.

3. Do I have the money for this?

This is the big one: can you afford it? Even if it is something you need and it’s on sale, you can still not have enough money at the moment to buy it. This is particularly true for pricier items. However, if you check out the price and realize you have that extra money in the budget, go for it!

4. Will I (or my spouse) be disappointed I bought this in a few days?

Even if you answer yes to the first three questions, you can still say no to this one. Maybe you have been craving a new video game and you just found one you’ve been wanting to play on sale! Then you remember that your spouse has been complaining about needing new work shirts. Sure, there might be yeses to the first three questions, but you know your spouse will be disappointed to wait another paycheck before getting new clothes. So you pass on the offer.

Only you can answer these questions truthfully and use them to help your spending habits. Usually, I only get to the first question and put the item back. Remember, there will be a time when you will have more disposable income, but until then, learn to recognize the difference between what you want, what you need, and what you can afford.

What are some of your tricks to curb your spending? Do these questions help you?

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How to Move Cross-Country with a Cat

How to Move Cross-Country with a Cat

Moving is an ordeal when you’re moving cross-country. There are a lot of logistics to organize. It can be even more stressful if you have an animal with you, especially a cat, who isn’t used to being out and about. I recently moved from Wisconsin to Washington state with my cat, Hazel, in tow. I am very lucky that Hazel is an incredibly chill cat, but there were still a lot of things to think about when I was getting ready. Here are the things I prepared while moving.

Supplies

Most cats don’t like cars, so I suggest getting some sort of carrier for your cat. I got a medium-sized dog kennel from Amazon, so she would have room to move around. You know what your own cat likes, so if they need something bigger or smaller get that. I put in a bed, litter box, and water for her. The litter box is a travel version and was so small and portable. It saved my life because I could easily move it between the car and the hotel. I also got a water bowl that screws to the side of the kennel, so it wouldn’t spill accidentally. (affiliate links)

She tried to climb out the top of her kennel on the last day.

Be Prepared for Crying

Cats are notorious for this. They will whine for HOURS and just when you think they must be tired, they will keep going. I was so, so lucky that Hazel didn’t start crying until our last day of travel and even then it was minimal. I have heard of people putting a blanket around their cat kennel to muffle the noises. I was prepared to turn up the music loud to drown her out. There are also some calming cat sprays that have pheromones that cats like, they might help your cat not be so on edge. (affiliate link)

Hotels

Look ahead to see which hotels have the cheapest pet fees. I found that they were around $15-$25 on top of the room fee. If you are around the Dakotas area, Kelly Inn has no pet fees. I stayed there two nights and I loved it.  I brought in my cat’s food, scratching post, bed, and litter box, which I put in the bathroom so it would be easiest for the staff to clean. Think about what will be the best for your cat. If they retaliate by going to the bathroom where they shouldn’t, maybe keep them in the bathroom. If they like to scratch a lot, bring in multiple scratching posts to encourage correct scratching. They will love getting out of the car, Hazel was so excited and explored everything.

Hazel insisted on sitting near to me, so I rearranged her kennel.

Weather

It was in the 90s my entire drive out to Washington. It was stifling. To keep Hazel cool, I made sure she was never in the sun even when I was driving. When we stopped quickly for gas, I opened all the windows. The few times when we stopped for a longer period of time, I opened all my car doors, so there would be a cross breeze in the car. I also watched to see if she started panting, as that would be a sign she was too hot (it takes a lot to get a cat to pant.) In the winter, I would be sure to put a blanket on her cage if I was going to be gone for more than a few minutes.

The number one thing to remember is the personality of your cat. You know what they can and cannot handle and how best to soothe them (to the extent they will let you.) If you can afford it, there are services that will move your pet for you, just make sure to do your research. It was stressful but definitely worth it to bring my cat with me on my big move. And to think, there were people who told me to leave her behind (as if!) If you have any other tips, please leave them in the comments! Or let me know how your trip went.

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Thoughts from August 2017

Thoughts from August 2017

I’m going to be starting a monthly post about the important things that have happened with me over the past month. Think of it as a love letter to all my readers. I’ll always include links I love, but the rest is up to what has happened that month and what you all want to read!

Links I Love

I went back through my Pocket saves for the month and give you the most interesting tidbits. Thanks to Modern Mrs. Darcy for the idea!

 

First Solo Washington Trip

That’s right! I went on my first trip completely alone while living in Washington. I had a road trip through Mt. Rainier National Park and I absolutely loved it, even if my feet did not (five miles of hiking on a road trip!) Look for the complete run down of the trip on Monday.

I love working from home!

I was pretty sure I was going to like working at home, but you can never be really sure until you do something. Well, after working from home for the last few weeks, the consensus is love! It’s really amazing to be able to set my own schedule and not have anyone looking over my shoulder. I know that every cent I earn is my own. It’s awesome! Now I need to beef up my client list, so I can have sustained success in this endeavor.

Furbishing My Apartment

Moving across the country on a budget means that I have to leave a lot of my larger furniture behind. I moved in with no couches, tv stand, or dining table. So I went to some thrift stores to buy what I needed. I stopped at a store called Value Village and found a small table that could serve as a tv stand. I can always fix it up later, but for now, it’ll work. Then I did something that is not usual for me. I bought two chairs from Goodwill. It made me pretty nervous, but they are in really good shape and only need a good cleaning. I’m going to rent a carpet cleaner from Home Depot to make them feel homier. I love the red color!

Celebrating My 25th Birthday

I am now a quarter of a century old. Yay! I worked for a few hours in the morning (and went outside to view the eclipse), then I went to my friend’s house to finish a Lord of the Rings marathon we started the night before. It was a really nice, low-key birthday and was perfect for the turbulent year I’ve had.

And this pretty much sums up my August. If you have any thoughts or questions, please let me know! I want to make this series something that we all can enjoy, so if you have any suggestions, please let me know.

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On Moving

On Moving

I’ve done it! I’ve been talking about it for months and months and now it has finally happened: I live in Washington state!

My uncle and I set out on Saturday, July 29th. The outside temperature was around 90 for the whole drive. Even with that, it was a good trip overall. The vast expanses of North Dakota and Montana were breath taking and the mountains in Montana, Idaho, and Washington were extraordinary. We arrived on Tuesday, August 1st, right on schedule. I’m so very excited for this new chapter in my life.

I have to be honest though, leaving was so hard. I cried when I left my best friend and roommate in Madison, when I hugged my mom goodbye, and when I crossed the state line out of Wisconsin. However, I never cried because I didn’t want to go or because I thought I was making a mistake.

Logically, I know that I’m capable of living on my own in a new place. Now I get to see that idea in action. I need to be open to new things and willing to actually talk to other people (eek!). I need to know when to ask for help and when I can do it myself. Most of all, I need to be comfortable in who I am and live a life according to that.

I didn’t mean for this post to get so philosophical, but these are all interesting things to think about and remember. If you are thinking of a life changing move, do it. I’m already so happy I did. If you want to chat, comment or hit me up on social media. Please let me know what you think!

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