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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Mt. Rainier National Park Road Trip

Mt. Rainier National Park Road Trip

One of the reasons I moved to Washington was because of the mountains and one of my favorite places is Mt. Rainier National Park. Mt. Rainier is the mountain you see on pretty much all Washington memorabilia and can see from Seattle and the surrounding area.  The park is an awesome place to hike and get into nature. The first two times I went to Rainier, I drove pretty much the whole way through the park and I loved every second of it. Here is my guide to a road trip through Mt. Rainier and my experience doing it.

The Route

Mt. Rainier has only a view roads going into it. The main ones form a backward “L” that goes from the lower left-hand corner of the park up the upper right. Of course, there are other roads too, I’ve including them on my rudimentary map above, but this is the route I took through the park. You can find a map online or you can get one when you enter the park.

Twin Firs Trail

This is a 0.3-mile trail about half way between the Westside Road and Longmire. It’s a nice little jaunt through the woods that has only about 100 feet in elevation climb. It was a nice way for me to get out and stretch my legs, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Save your time so you can see some other things in the park.

Longmire

I went on a very, very busy Saturday afternoon, so there was literally no parking available in Longmire. I’m sure if I had spent the time to drive around for a bit I would have stumbled upon something, but it didn’t seem worth it to me. What I really wanted to see was the Longmire museum and maybe take a short hike up the Trail of Shadows, maybe next time I go. There is also the National Park Inn here, that has food and lodging and the Wilderness Information Center that gives out all kinds of permits.

Carter Falls
Madcap Falls

Carter Falls

I drove  a few miles to the pull out for Carter Falls which is across the road from Cougar Rock Campground. I decided to hike to the falls since it was a 3-mile roundtrip. The trail dips down to the Nisqually River and is clearly marked as you walk through the boulder field there. I was super excited to be able to see this, since I’d driven by it so many times. Then the trail goes over the river on a pretty rudimentary bridge, which I imagine gets swept away in the spring each year, so the trail changes each year. After that, the trail follows the Paradise River and climbs steadily for the next mile and a half. It’s a total gain of about 500 feet from the river valley. Finally, I got to Carter Falls, which was really cool to see. A fellow hiker told me to to walk about a minute further up the path for another falls and I did. This is Madcap Falls and was a lot easier to see through the trees, I would suggest going to see it as well, the walk is short and fast. Hiking back down was much easier than walking up (hallelujah). I really enjoyed this hike, especially being able to see the river up close.

Christine Falls and Comet Falls

Not very far down the road is the turn out for Christine Falls (which is right next to the roadway) and the trail to Comet Falls (a mile or so hike). I had really wanted to go see these falls, but both sides of the turn off were completely packed. I even tried to park in a tiny end spot, but I couldn’t get all four of my tires off of the roadway, so I had to continue on. If there is room when you go to the park, please go up this trail, I’ve heard it’s beautiful and it’s definitely still on my list.

View from behind Narada Falls towards viewpoint
Narada Falls

Narada Falls

I continued a few more miles down the road (and went by the one-way road that I wanted to drive, but was closed for construction, just my luck). I came to Narada Falls and pulled into the packed parking lot, thanks to my tiny car I was able to get a parking space. This was something I really wanted to see, so I was completely prepared to drive around a while until I found a spot. The parking lot is located above the falls and I followed a 0.3 mile roundtrip trail down to the other side of the river to see the falls. It’s a pretty steep path down, but it’s so short that it makes up for it. The falls are breathtaking! And the way the sun was falling there was a rainbow at the bottom of it while I was there. Definitely go and see this falls. It’s perfect for kids, since the trail is so short and the view so great.

Paradise and Reflection Lakes

The next two spots on the road I drove by. Paradise was packed, so I only looked around. I know there are several trails around the area. The next time I go, I’ll hike to Bench and Snow Lakes, but I didn’t have the time this trip. I also drove by Reflection Lake and Louise Lake. They are a epidemy of beautiful mountain lakes. Definitely worth a visit. I’ll be frank, I had to go to the bathroom, so I kept driving, so I could get to the next restroom. Lesson learned: go to the bathroom whether you have to or not. You never know when the next bathroom will be.

Stevens Canyon Road

This is probably my favorite part of the whole park (for driving that is). The road hugs the side of a massive canyon. There is no road on the other side of the canyon, so you get the feeling you are in the middle of nowhere, even though you aren’t that far off from civilization. There were a lot fewer people after Paradise so I took my time enjoying this part of the park. There are even two tunnels along this stretch of road which tickles the inner child in me.

Grove of the Patriarchs

This is the last stop before Stevens Canyon Road hooks up with 123. It’s a 1.3 mile round trip out to an island formed by the Ohanapecosh River that has some truly giant trees. The walk down to the suspension bridge is pretty easy and has a few beaches that you can walk out on. After you cross the bridge, you can go on a short, loop trail that wanders past many giant trees. It’s wonderful looking at them and learning about how they came to get so big. I really enjoyed this part of the trip.

Sunrise

It’s a relatively quick drive from Grove of the Patriarchs to Sunrise. There is a ton of really great hiking up there and an awesome viewpoint on the way. Definitely worth it as it’s own day trip or as a tack on to this road trip. I’ve been there several times before, so I decided to head home. Since there isn’t cell phone reception in the park, I would suggest looking up the way home before you leave so you know the general directions before you get back to service and can use your navigation.

This is definitely not an exhaustive list of everything you can see in Mt. Rainier, but a way to see as many features as you can in a one-time trip. I have all the spots of interest I have gone to or want to go through on my Washington Google Map. Check it out for some more ideas for the Park. If you have been to Mt. Rainier, I would love to hear about it!

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Virtual Assistant Goals: 3 Month Update

Virtual Assistant Goals: 3 Month Update

I’m updating my last post: My Virtual Assistant Goals. I’ve achieved a few goals, worked on a few more, and added some more still. It’s important to keep these goals at the front of my mind, so I’ll be updating them every three months or so. I hope these goals might be able to help you envision your virtual assistant journey.

Completed Goals:

 

Short Term Goals (3 Months, December)

  • Get More Clients
    • Getting my first client is awesome! Now I need to keep working on getting more.
  • Build Social Media Skills
    • I do social media management for my client. I need to do a deeper skill dive so I am ready for how her business will grow.

Medium Term Goals (6 Months, March)

  • Get (Even More) Clients
    • I want to be able to fill my time working for my clients. I’ll probably be working on recruitment for a while.
  • Build Needed Skills
    • I know that there will be more skills I will need to expand on going forward.

Long Term Goals (August)

  • Be Part-Time Working at Home
    • It can take up to two years to build a strong virtual assistant business, I hope to be working part-time at home with a solid income at the end of a year.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment. If you want to see the services I offer, please check out my Hire Me page.

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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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How I Got My First Virtual Assistant Client

How I Got My First Virtual Assistant Client

I’m just starting out as a virtual assistant and it’s scary. I know who my ideal clients are, but I have very little idea about finding them. I’m sure if you are starting out on your journey, you are feeling the same way. This is how I found my first client.

Cold Emails

I started my virtual assistant search by sending out cold emails. This means that I basically just started emailing bloggers and other people that I have services they might be interested in. I stayed with people that I already follow and fit within my demographic (web-based small business owners). That’s when I decided to email my current client. She literally emailed me back with “Call me” and her phone number.

It’s Who You Know

I know that old adage is frustrating to read again and again, but it’s true; it’s all about who you know. My client is a life coach that I met through my last job. I worked with her several times over the two years I had been there and had recently met with her. I knew that she owned her own business that appeared to be out of her home. She’s the kind of client I was looking for, so I decided to take the plunge and email her. As you read above, it paid off.

That First Talk

She said, in our first conversation, that she had been looking for someone to help her with her social media accounts and her website for a while, but hadn’t found someone she knew she could trust. My email was like a godsend to her (and her accounts definitely need some help, she’ll be the first to tell you). After that first conversation where we set my wage and hours, I got started. I already know I love this and I’m so excited to see where this leads her and her business.

If you are setting out on your virtual assistant journey, keep your mind open about the people you know. Sending a polite email never hurt anyone and the worst they can say is no! I’m going to be brainstorming any more people I might know who fit into my demographics. If you want help starting your business, please try out 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success. It is an awesome resource and has helped me so much in starting this journey. Good luck!

Organize Your Cleaning Schedule

Organize Your Cleaning Schedule

Ever since I was a kid I had trouble keeping up with cleaning. It resulted in a lot of fights with my parents and my first apartment got pretty gross. I like cleanliness a lot, but I have a serious problem with actually cleaning. Then I came up with a cleaning schedule and it changed everything! Suddenly I was actually keeping up with my cleaning tasks and I was able to keep my home up to the level I wanted it. If you feel the same way about cleaning, here are the steps I use to create my cleaning schedule.

Step One: Brainstorm

It’s time to brainstorm a list of all the cleaning activities you want to incorporate into your schedule. You can divide them in a number of ways including daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly. I tend to go to each room of my house and list all the different cleaning activities that need to be done, then I divide them up by the frequency they need to be done. You structure this in whatever way makes sense to you.

Step Two: Incorporate It Into Your Schedule

Set up a time that you are going to clean. I schedule a few weekly tasks each day and do them right after I’m done with work. Another way of doing this is doing all the tasks on one day, like on Sunday or the last weekend of the month is the weekend you clean.  It all depends on your schedule and season of life. But picking a certain time to do it will help you to remain accountable to yourself and after a few weeks it will seem like second nature to clean then. If you have kids, give them tasks or have them help with yours, as their age allows. It shows them that they are a part of the household. It was the way I learned to do laundry!

Step Three: Make Incentives

I know that a surefire way to make me do anything is to give myself a reason. This can be anything really, watching a movie you really like, or going out to dinner, or getting a sticker. Whatever works to motivate you. And if you have kids, this can be a good way to motivate them as well and it can teach them to be proud of their work! Once it becomes routine, you can stop using incentives (or keep going).

My Cleaning Schedule

In case you wanted an example, here is my current cleaning schedule.

Daily

Clean Dishes, Squeegee Shower Doors after Shower, Organize Rooms Before Bed (basically I walk around and straighten things up)

Weekly

Monday: Scoop Cat Box, Clean Shower, Clean Bathroom Mirror, Counter, Sink, and Toilet

Tuesday: Vacuum Living Room and Bedroom, Sweep and Mop Bathroom and Kitchen (I also go grocery shopping this day)

Wednesday: Scoop Cat Box, Clean Kitchen Counter, Stove, Sink, Microwave, and Fridge

Thursday: Laundry, Clean Shower Doors, Empty Garbages, Empty Recycling

Friday: Scoop Cat Box, Water Plants, Fill Birdseed, Sweep Balcony (I also do my banking on this day)

Saturday and Sunday: Off Days! I use that time to travel!

I keep my cleaning schedule as simple as I can and it keeps my house at the cleanliness level that I maintain best. Remember, this schedule is supposed to make your life easier, play with it until it feels like the right fit for you and your season in life. Please tell me what you think of this step-by-step and tell me what your schedule looks like! Happy cleaning!

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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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My Proofreading Goals

My Proofreading Goals

Proofreading for court reporters can be a really great way to make money at home. Since I’m done moving across the country, I finally have the time to devote to being a kick-butt proofreader. I’m working my way through Proofread Anywhere and once I’m done with that I can begin to make money from proofreading. Here are my goals for getting that done.

3 Month Goals (November)

  • Finish the practice transcripts in Proofread Anywhere (there are over 3,000 pages!)
  • Continue to work on my punctuation and spelling skills with Bad Grammer, Good Punctuation.

6 Month Goals (February)

  • Finish the Proofread Anywhere course and pass the final exam.
  • Obtain at least one client for proofreading.

1 Year Goals (August)

  • Be making a full-time income from proofreading.
  • Replace my iPad.

These are pretty simple goals, but I hope by making them simple they’ll be very achievable. If you have any thoughts or questions on these goals or the world of proofreading, please let me know!

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50 Places to Visit on the Olympic Peninsula

50 Places to Visit on the Olympic Peninsula

Washington is a state full of beautiful sites! One of the best is the Olympic Peninsula. It is home to the Olympic Mountain Range, Olympic National Park, and so many other great places. I’ve created a list of the top 50 places I want to visit on the peninsula. I have also created a Google Map showing the list. Enjoy!

Eastern Peninsula

♦ Olympic National Park

Spoon Creek Falls

Wynoochee Falls

Staircase Rapids

Triton Cove State Park

Murhut Falls

Dosewallips State Park

Rocky Brook Falls

Mt. Walker Viewpoint

Anderson Lake State Park

Fort Flagler Historical State Park

Fort Townsend Historical State Park

Port Townsend, WA

Fort Worden Historical State Park

Strait of Juan de Fuca

Dungeness Spit

Port Angeles, WA

Ferry to Victoria, BC

Hurricane Ridge

Madison Creek Falls

Marymere Falls

Lake Crescent

Salmon Cascades (late Sept-Early October)

Sol Duc Falls

Beaver Falls

Strait of Juan de Fuca Scenic Byway – Hwy 112

Salt Creek County Park

Neah Bay, WA

Makah Museum

Pacific Coast

Hobuck Beach

Cape Flattery

Shi Shi Beach

Point of Arches

Ozette Lake

Cape Alava

Rialto Beach

Hole-In-The-Wall

Third Beach

Strawberry Bay Falls

Second Beach

♦ First Beach

♦ La Push, WA

♦ Forks, WA

Hoh Rain Forest

Ruby Beach

Kalaloch Beach 4

♦ Lake Quinault

Quinault Rain Forest

Willaby Creek Falls

♦ Gatton Creek Falls

Merriman Falls

Since I live in Olympia, WA, I’m really excited to see as much of the Peninsula as I can. I’ll be updating this list as I visit more places. Please leave your impressions of this list in the comments! I would love to hear what you think!

Updated on: 9-7-2017

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4 Tips for Selling on Craig’s List

4 Tips for Selling on Craig’s List

In three weeks, I’m going to be moving from Wisconsin to Washington state. I realized very early on that I could not bring all of my furniture with me and I would have to sell most of it. But selling items is not as easy as it would seem. There are certain things you need to include in your Craig’s List posts to boost the likelihood of your item selling. Here are my top four tips for selling on Craig’s List. 

#1 Clear Pictures

There are a few components in my picture above that help it to stand out. The lighting is bright, the couch looks clean, and there aren’t very many distractions in the picture. It can be even easier to take a good picture when it’s easier to move the item around. Find a blank wall or a door to put the item in front of and turn on as many lights as you can. Even better, take the picture near a window on a sunny day. All of these help to boost your pictures and make your item look more appealing. More people will be willing to click on it.

#2 Priced Right

I knew that the couches I was trying to sell were a little worse for wear. In the picture above, you can see a little bit of damage on it and there is normal wear and tear as well. I knew I wouldn’t be receiving top dollar for it. So, I priced it at $200 with the hope that I could get $150 for it. You can also look at the pricing for similar items on Craig’s List before you list your own to be more competitive.

#3 Descriptive Description

Descriptions are really hard to write, however, there are a few things you can include pretty much every time. Include the dimensions of the product, since pictures often don’t do justice to sizing. If there are significant advantages or disadvantages to the item include them as well. If the item is large (like mine), state whether you are willing to help move the object or if the buyer needs to have their own transportation.If you put this information in, it will help scale down inquiries to the people who are really serious about buying your item.

#4 Lower the Price

If after a few days or a week, your item isn’t selling, lower the price. If my couch doesn’t sell at $200 after a week, I’ll lower to $100. It’s more important for me to sell it than it is for me to make a lot of money off of it. If you have the time, lower the price more slowly and try to find the “sweet spot” to get to most money someone will pay.

I sold my couches less than a week after I posted them. And the woman who came to get them said “This is exactly what I was expecting.” I makes me feel a lot better that I don’t need to find a way to get them to Goodwill. If you have any of your own tips for selling on Craig’s List, please reply in the comments. I hope these are helpful for you selling endeavors.

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