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Summer Highlights

Friday, July 29, 2016

 Even though summer isn't technically over, here's a recap of what I've done thus far.

 My best friend moved to Seattle and I visited her for 4 days. We went to Mount Rainier and Olympic National Parks.

 For our two year anniversary, Sam and I went to Alaska! It was amazing! I plan to blog more about this, but here's a short video:

 When we got back from Alaska, we attended Sam's cousin's wedding in St Louis. This was my first time renting a dress from Rent The Runway (photo above).

It was so fun seeing our three year old nephew, Nathan. This is such a fun age. The photo above is from the rehearsal dinner.

I bought supplies for our next project - wallpapering the powder bathroom.


 We started working on sanding and priming our kitchen cabinets. This project took us a month.

 For my birthday I got tickets to see Wicked in Birmingham. The last time I saw Wicked was in 2008 in New York.


 We went to Grand Island, NY (close to Niagara Falls) for my family reunion, which occurs every 4 years. The photo above is our family church, which my ancestors helped build.

Family photo after mass

 We (Sam and my sister) celebrated Canada Day by going to Niagara-on-the-Lake. My grandfather used to go every year, but this was my first visit. It's such a cute town! We went on a wine tour and visited three different wineries. During the drive back to the States, we did a quick tour of my sister's college, Niagara University.

We ended July with the completion of our kitchen cabinets. I'll save the big reveal for another post.

In August we will be doing a no spend/self improvement month. Here's what we have planned:
  • drive only one car
  • eat cheaper meals
  • no eating out (we might make an exception for Restaurant Week)
  • practice yoga 
  • no shopping
We'll see how it goes!
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Link Roundup #9

Friday, May 6, 2016

Not in your front yard: why for sale signs are banned in oak park - WBEZ Chicago. "Instead of opposing African Americans from moving in, or doing nothing as white residents fled for far-flung suburbs, the leaders of Oak Park decided to encourage a diverse community. In 1968 — the same year Lyndon B. Johnson passed the federal Fair Housing Act — the village passed its own fair-housing ordinance. And unlike other communities with similar laws, Oak Park actually enforced theirs. "
Renovating our house nearly ruined our relationship - Elle Decor. "Mike and I spent little to no time together, as he was always working on the house while I took care of the baby or did paperwork for my job. I was lonely,  I hated my house, and I felt like I was unfairly suffering due to my husband's choices. "

How do you decide to have a baby when climate change is remaking life on Earth? - The Nation. " When considering kids, they weighed not only their desires and finances but the state of the world. Many of them had read grim prognoses of what climate change would do to life on Earth. Even in the restrained language of science, the future holds unprecedented difficulties and disasters. For many people, these problems were an abstraction, but as an environmental journalist, I knew enough to imagine them in front of me. Driving across the bridge to my house, I pictured city beaches drowned by the rising sea. Watching the news, I wondered when the next colossal hurricane would strike the Gulf of Mexico or the mid-Atlantic. These thoughts are not paranoid. According to scientists’ predictions, if society keeps pumping out carbon dioxide at current rates, any child born now could, by midlife, watch Superstorm Sandy–size disasters regularly inundate New York City."

Just buy the freakin minivan - Coffee + Crumbs. "They no longer need built-in vacuums in their cars and they look like they get regular manicures, but you can see it on their faces, they sorta miss it, maybe. One day, probably sooner than we think, our kids will go straight to the living room when they wake up instead of to our rooms, they'll tell us to leave them alone, they'll keep secrets, and we'll beg them to stay in on the weekends. One day we'll have more time to shop off-line, eat sitting down and get back in touch with that sacred part of ourselves that could shoot tequila. But for now, we should probably just surrender to it all. Wear pj's to the store, eat dinner at 5pm, get the minivan, do whatever it takes to make your life easier. You can still rock leather pants every once in a while. Your soul won't be the same, it's true, but it hasn't been since the day your first kid was born. So just own that, and don't worry about it too much. I promise, the sliding doors are worth it."

The Past
This 8146 pamphlet wants your kids to explain to you why slavery is wrong - Upworthy.

New York panoramas 1900-1913 - Mashable.

18 women on their financial deal breakers - The Financial Diet. “He was obsessed with having the latest and greatest version of every tech gadget, electronic, TV, computer, and phone available. Once, he spent $5,000 in one month upgrading all of his various ~toys~. He bought the $600 Oculus Rift without blinking an eye, and I’m like…this is just not my thing. I didn’t want to live with a 20-something child.”

How to spring clean your finances - Real Simple. "If you’re the money manager of your household, you owe it to the people you love to put together a folder of information that will help them figure out how to handle your finances in case anything happens to you. This is your “In Case of Emergency,” or ICE, folder."

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Currently, May

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Our 2 year anniversary is this month and we are celebrating by going on an Alaskan cruise. We leave on the 11th!
Mooresville AL wedding with dog
glacier bay alaska
 We'll be going through Glacier Bay and I'm hoping for some great photos, like this one!

Here's what I read in April
Doing it over by Catherine Bybee. I love this author, but I didn't love this book. It was just meh.

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck. This book seemed promising because it combined romance and historical aspects, but I found it a little boring.

The Return of the Witch by Paula Brackston. This is the sequel to The Witches Daughter, which I loved. I don't think it was as good as the first book, but I still liked it.

We have finally started on our powder bath walls. Last year, I bought Cole and Son Hummingbird wallpaper, which I planned to put in the powder bath. This wallpaper is expensive, so to cut down on the wallpaper needed, I decided to put beadboard on the bottom half of the walls. Sam installed the beadboard this last weekend, but I'm not sure when we'll get around to the wallpaper. We're going on vacation for two weeks and then we have a wedding in St Louis. It may be awhile...

 I just brewed the last of my Weight to Go Teavana tea, which I bought in St Louis at Christmas. It's supposedly for weight loss, but I bought it because it tastes great iced! It tastes like strawberries and I'm drinking some right now while typing up this post.

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Link Roundup #8

Friday, April 29, 2016

The versatile Ikea piece you need - The Everygirl. "It's not every day we stumble upon a piece that's affordable and versatile, so when we do, we take note! Enter Ikea's Raskog cart ($50). This multitiered, rollable storage unit comes in a glossy charcoal and robin's egg blue (our favorite option!). While it's intended for the kitchen, it proves to be just as handy in every other room of the house. See the three ways we're itching to use it!"

Don't Trust People With Money Who Say It Won't Buy Happiness - The Financial Diet. "For many people, a bit of money — and we’re not even talking much here, just enough to cover monthly bills with a little left over to build a cushion — is the difference between constant anxiety and calm. It’s the difference between being stuck in a life that is running on fumes, unable to take even the tiniest risk because everything is hinging on a few dollars’ difference, and taking the leap into the life you want. It’s the cost of a plane ticket, or the first month’s deposit on a new place, or the few weeks between jobs. Often, the only thing standing between people and the very-attainable life they dream of is a little cash flow to keep things running while they get everything in place."

Sometimes a job is just a job - Budgets are Sexy. "There’s nothing wrong with simply taking a job for the money and getting on with our lives. There’s plenty of ways to be happy outside of our day job, and as long as your goals are being met then more power to you!"

Lessons from homeschooling - FEE.  "But parents today increasingly avoid “education specialists” because these alleged specialists are so bad that non-specialist parents outperform them at the task of education. The average home-schooled child scores in the 85th percentile on standardized achievement tests a full 35 points higher than the score registered by the average public-school student."

Confessions of a radical doula - The Cut. "Legal advocacy is crucial, says Hermine Hayes-Klein, lawyer and founder of Human Rights in Childbirth (HRiC). “Most feminist movements began with a small, fringe group of women fighting for the rights of all. Think of the suffragists. Most women wanted nothing to do with the vote. They’d say, ‘Why would I need to vote? My husband votes for me!’” HRiC works to create first-of-their-kind legal protections for childbearing women, including informed consent and the right to refuse treatment. Basic rights, neither of which are yet guaranteed to childbearing women in American hospitals."

The Past
1953 Shortly after JFK and Jackie announced their engagement - Mashable

1938 How one small town spent Saturday afternoon during the Depression - Mashable. "In 1938, FSA photographer Ben Shahn traveled to the small town of London, Ohio, 25 miles southwest of the state capital Columbus. There, he captured residents of the sleepy 4,600-person town as they walked the few main streets on a quiet Saturday afternoon."

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Link Roundup #7

Friday, April 22, 2016

I waste money on vacations every year and I don't regret it - The Financial Diet. "
"I know that I could be putting several thousand dollars more into my 401k each year if I seriously cut back, but then I would have been cutting out my best and most fulfilling memories from that year, and I wouldn’t have had the powerful, important re-charging session that my vacations provide. I have a stressful, demanding job, and if I don’t feel like I’m truly able to unplug and just enjoy myself during my travel, I burn out very easily. I need that time, and I’m not ashamed of it. If I feel like I have to scrimp and squeeze for every part of my trip, it’s not a vacation anymore. And that’s just the way I am."

A wedding in Scotland - A Practical Wedding. The bride wore her grandmother's dress and it's amazing!

photo credit: Sarah Gormley

We need to stop using salaries as an excuse to keep women down - A Practical Wedding. "Then I sat down and did a deep dive into budgeting. And what I saw didn’t look right to me. So I crunched one number after another, until I realized I wasn’t making “a little” more than my husband. I was making double....“The math just works out that way.” I’ve heard the reason a thousand times and often from reasonably high-earning couples. It’s why she had to give up her rewarding career. It’s why she has to take the kids to the doctors’ appointments. It’s why she works reduced hours so she can handle daycare pick-up and drop-off and sick days. It’s why the family isn’t investing in any kind of childcare. It’s why she takes care of all the emotional labor for the family. But here’s the thing. In our family? I’m still doing most of those things."

Having it all kinda sucks - HuffPost.  "Here’s what we tell women today: You not only can, but should have a career and children — because if you don’t, you’re basically a) lazy, b) weak, c) not a real woman. But also, you should do it without any support. Without government-paid maternity leave (what are you, a socialist?). Without too much childcare (because then you’re a shitty mom) or falling behind on the job (because then you’re a shitty employee  —  typical woman!). Without too much help from your husband (because then he’s a pussy)."

^^The #1 reason having children terrifies me.

4 credit card mistakes millennials are making right now - The Financial Diet. "Often millennials “believe they don’t need to begin building credit because they don’t plan to buy a car or home,” according to Sean. He says that the reality is this: “landlords and potential employers often check credit, so even if you never plan to need a loan, it’s still wise to build credit. Beyond that, you never know when you’ll want to start your own business and need a business loan, or decide to settle down and buy something big. Credit takes a long time to build, it’s always best to start early.”

Here's where you should store your emergency fund - Business Insider. "
A short-term bond fund, says Ellen Jordan, certified financial planner and senior vice president at Bryn Mawr Trust. They're conservative investments that minimize the risk of losing money, and, unlike with some other investments, you can withdraw your funds instantly."

The past
A catalog of Sear's Homes 1927-1932 - Sears Archives. Click on the photos on the website to see floor plans.
January 1910 when Paris flooded - Mashable. "Only one death was officially recorded, and there was no major outbreak of disease, possibly because city officials moved quickly to remove debris and disinfect the streets after the floods. Donations from the rest of France and other countries helped fund recovery operations. Some historians have come to see the flood as a "dress rehearsal" in solidarity that Parisians would require four years later with the outbreak of World War I."

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Weekend in New Orleans

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Around this time last year, we attended Valley Fellowship auction, and bid on a couple different vacation packages. We ended up winning a New Orleans vacation package, which included a hotel, tickets to the WWII museum, the Beauregard Keyes House, and dinner at the Chophouse. We went to New Orleans in October. It was Sam's first time and my second time in New Orleans.

The hotel, Old No 77, included in the package was so nice! We loved the modern design and location on the outside of the French Quarter.

 We got an early start on Saturday morning and walked to Jackson Square from our hotel. I started feeling dizzy, so we decided to get breakfast to see if that helped me feel better. We ate at Cafe Pontalba because it was close and there wasn't a line. I took this photo inside the restaurant.

After we filled our bellies, we walked around Jackson Square and got lots of pictures of St Louis Cathedral.

We went inside the Cathedral and looked around.

We walked around the French Quarter and did some shopping. I bought this beautiful hat at Goorin Bros.

We spent the next hour walking around and admiring the beautiful architecture and Halloween decorations.

This post is already pretty long, so I'll continue next week with our tour of the Beauregard Keyes House.

Have you ever been to New Orleans? What is your favorite thing to do there?

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