September Lookback


Here's where I am:

Listening to:

a second-grade teacher direct her students


travel: Hawai'i, Blue Ridge Mountains


I'm working on a photo book of all of my travel photos. I'm also planning Christmas gifts, especially for those far away.

Anxious about:

Money.. Getting enough money together for stock options and for building a server to back up my images.

Interested to Know:

how covid will impact my job as the weather changes

UO Honey Tiered Frock in blue multi and cream multi
Ashlynn Floral Midi Dress from Anthropologie
• Free People Saturday Morning Cardigan from Poshmark
• Lilka black dress from Ebay
• Rachael & Chloe Tiered Ruffle Skirt in purple
• Free People Ripped & Torn Babydoll from Poshmark
• Free People All Who Wonder Button Top from Poshmark345

• hard drives to replace the one that was failing in the DROBO from Costco
• knives to replace the ones on the surger from Amazon
• Yeti 20 oz tumblers for work from Dick's
• Cusinart replacement bowl
• Elastic from Etsy
• iPhone SE
• started Christmas shopping
• server


nothing, staying super busy with editing.

Lookbacks from Earlier This Year:
Jan • Feb • Mar • Apr • May • Jun • Jul • Aug

Wordless Wednesday 2020 #28


Little Painted Desert County Park in Winslow, Arizona (July 2020)

FYI: this is the moon, not the sun! If you look closely, you can see the stars!

2020 So far....

 2020 ... year of the pandemic. Am I right? Nevertheless, let me make note of what has happened so far pandemic monotony aside.


Crest Mountains, California (July 2019)

Originally, we had planned to take a drive across the US between Christmas and New Year's. Those plans took a back seat when Justin's grandmother was in a car accident and taken to the hospital. 

Rather than return straight home following her death, we took off to Nashville, Tennessee to hang out with Justin's sister and meet his new baby second cousin, Annalen. We shared Grammy's delicious last cheesecake with those in the family that hadn't made it to Christmas.

For the last night of break, we stayed at the Atlanta Intercontinental Buckhead and watched New Years' Eve fireworks from the top floor while playing games and having a "quiet night" with friends. It was exactly what was needed.

January continued ....


San Francisco, CA (April 2018)

February brought a bit of excitement as we started planning a March trip to NYC, pre-covid. We got a bit of snow and we began spending every night at Trader Vic's where we made friends witl regulars, learned about Trader Vic and the origin of the mai tai, and discovered secrets about the Hilton where the last Trader Vic's was built in the 1970s. We also finished up out second semester of French 2 and ultimately decided not to continue with French 3 with the same school.


Santa Monica Beach, California (July 2019)

March started pretty crazy for us. We attended a Tiki convention, then a travel convention, went to a travel meet up in Atlanta, had a flat tire (that almost made it impossible for us to attend the meet up), then flew off to NYC the last possible weekend before everything was shut down for covid. When I was put on paid leave from work, I got busy cleaning every nook and cranny, organizing, and listing clothes and other items on Poshmark and eBay while also putting together a box for Goodwill. It was a busy month and we are so glad we got to do so much and meet so many people prior to lockdown! Even following lockdown, we still managed to get a lot done!


southern California (April 2018)

April was a pretty tough month for me. I got into a fight with a friend and I spent a few weeks depressed not only about the situation with my friend but also about the world in general. I had intended to have a busy month, but it ended up being a pretty quiet laid back month instead. Lunch dates with my husband were quite fun and enjoyable as we broke up the day with interesting takes on leftovers and long walks. Facetime cocktail hours punctuated the month with a few ups to bring a little more joy to the situation.


Rosemary Beach, Florida (August 2019)

May was more of the same. I shipped the kids I watch some candy and activities to keep them busy and help Grammy. I worried about whether or not I would have a job as the pandemic continued. Then, we had to cancel all of out travel plans for the rest of the year. To bring my mood up, I discovered GoldBelly the perfect opportunity to order chocolate babka from Breads Bakery in NYC. Who doesn't love delicious babka? I was also pretty happy to make a few sales on eBay and Poshmark. April was a pretty expensive month for us as we sought ways to celebrate Mother's Day, graduation, and weddings without seeing family.


30A Florida (August 2019)

Justin went back to work in late May/early June, just in time for hard drives in my Drobo to fail. We replaced all but one. I continued listing items for sale online and making friends. Nearly every Friday including wine and an Al Pacino movie; it was pretty fun. I also spent a bit more time on self-care: curling my hair and painting my nails, things I never have time for or make time for when I'm working.


the Vessel at Hudson Yards in NYC (March 2020).

My husband surprised me the last week of June by getting a "free" day off for the long July 4th weekend. We jumped in the rental car and raced across the country for our first ever cross country road trip. Our first stop was at the Grand Canyon. We then continued on to Temecula to grab some wine from one of my favorite wineries, and Laguna Beach to get some sun before turning around  On our way back, which was pretty much direct, we made a point to stop at The Little Painted Desert (not to be confused with the Painted Desert) and also just outside of Caprock Canyons State Park (it closed before we got there) to photograph the sunset. 

As an aside, I must note, it was extremely difficult to stay socially distant keeping covid in mind during our travels, however, we were excited to be able to get a hotel room at the Thunderbird Hotel just outside of Grand Canyon the night before our stay when it is typically a pretty difficult hotel to get a room at.

It was also extremely difficult planning a trip with zero notice and a strict return date. 

Other things we did during July: made fresh pasta with a pasta maker, baked eclairs and croissants from scratch, replaced the tires on my car, broke my phone, learned new ways to clean things, I wore a mask for my first time out of the house during Covid. We bought a raclette warmer and a juicer; there is nothing like fresh-squeezed orange juice on a Saturday morning!


Grand Canyon in AZ (July 2020)

August is typically where I end my 6-month review, despite the fact that September has already begun. I went back to work at the end of the month, but it didn't keep me from being all "domestic" going up to that. Finding new ways to get stains out of clothes, learning new recipes, hanging curtains, and (my pride and joy) getting all of the artwork from the past 6 years of travel hung on an "art wall".

The very last week of the month my husband and I thought we might have to move, so we spend a week looking at rental properties and trying to rethink our budget and reimagine our life in a different location. It was mind-boggling and scary, but it was comforting to know that whatever our future looked like, it was together with my significant other. (I also got to see some really awesome properties!)

So how has 2020 looked for you? Mostly good? More bad? Somewhere in between? Are there things you wish you had done or things you wish you hadn't done? Do you have expectations or plans going forth for the rest of the year?

IWSG 2020 #9

August Goals
Tea and relax. I'm going back to work, so I need to do some self-care.
Continue making returns.
Finish the master bedroom curtains
– Wash all of the bedding and towels before returning to work.
– Thoroughly dust.
Condition the leather couch.

Additional Successes
• Sold more items on ebay and Poshmark! $30!
• hung artwork
• got rid of a box of "junk"
• got a few stains out of items (couch, clothes)
• painted our leather couch where the color had faded and was getting scratched up
• Went back to work

September Goals
– Find a place to live.

IWSG Question –– If you could choose one author, living or dead, to be your beta partner, who would it be, and why?

I'd really love to meet Anthony Doerr and talk to him about All the Light We Cannot See. I love the way he writes. According to Publisher's Weekly, along with writing Doerr is a teacher.

Doerr says his students always want to write about “big things like love or getting lost or heartbreak, and they miss the simple message of staying in the physical level all the time.” That level is evoked through detail, and, according to Doerr, it’s what lets an author “present an argument: that’s the essence of rhetoric, and that’s what we’re doing—we’re arguing readers into believing the fiction we’re making.”

I love Doerr's use of words/language and the style he writes in moves the story along with the use of short chapters. I'd love to spend time with him reviewing my writing, helping me use language in a more visual way.

Your Turn

If you are a writer, are you more interested in meeting your favorite author or would you prefer to meet the one you most admire? Is there a difference for you?

Just this month I found out I would potentially be moving. Have you had any surprising changes happen during covid that have thrown you off of your 'game'?

IWSG posts: #1 #2. #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8

Click here to learn more and
link up with IWSG!

Monthly Financial Update: August 2020

When reviewing my finances for 2018
, I mentioned my desire to look at them on a monthly basis in 2019. Justin and I spent a little too much in 2018 and let our finances get the best of us. Maybe by looking at our finances monthly (and let you guys/gals keep me in check), we will do better this year.

That's the goal anyway.

Here's month #8 for 2020:


Compared to Last Year –
compared to last year (green this month, yellow last month)

compared to last year (green this year, yellow last year)

Compared to Last Month –

compared to last year (green this month, yellow last month)

dotted line = last month, green line = this month

Where We Spent Our Money:

Top 10 Merchants:

1. Apple (replacement phone, case, replacement charging cables, headphone adaptors, secondary cable for laptop)
2. Amazon

3. Michaels (picture frames)
4. Electricity
5. Lowes (home projects, hanging pictures)
6. Patagonia (Justin clothes)
7. Everlane (Justin clothes)
8. Costco
9. Toco Giant
10. Publix

Top 10 Categories:
1. Shopping
2. Food & Dining

4. Bills & Utilities
5. Auto & Transport
6. Fees & Charges
7. Personal Care

– Gas & Fuel – at
 Groceries –under
✗ Restaurants  over
 Hair Appointments -over
✗ Everything Else – over

Net Income:


student loans

I had some issues changing a loan's information, so it looks like we owe more than we did at any other point this year, but we don't.

credit cards 

How Did I Do On My Financial Goals for August?
 Pay Knights of Columbus dues.
 Submit tire warranty info
 Decide on returns.
 Continue listing things for sale online (maybe 5?)
 Adjust budget based on work schedule.

* Loan Payoff Date 7/1/24 (improved by a month)
* Credit Card Payoff Date 8/1/21
* Emergency Funds: $14,622
• 401K $57,477.28
• Credit Scores: 766 /800 (Justin), 755, 747 (me): down for me, up for Justin

Overview of the Biggest Impacts This Month:
1. Replaced my phone.
2. Cashed out from a survey site for $500
3. Turned in tire warranty! Woot!
4. Justin lost weight and we had to get him new clothes.
5. We did some housekeeping -- fixing a leather couch with leather paint, buying the stuff to frame and hang pictures, buying curtains

What went wrong this month?
1. I dropped my phone last month and thus needed to either fix the phone or replace it.
2. My husband losing weight was both good and bad. Needing clothes that fit was an issue.
3. We never made time to look at our budget.
4. Having to look for apartments last minute.
5. I didn't accomplish my goals.

What went right this month?
1. Turning in the tire warranty.
2. Returns.
3. Cashing out for $500
4. Making a sale on Poshmark
5. We were under budget for groceries!

Financial plans/goals for September
1. Figure out our living situation first and foremost. 
2. Look at budget and make adjustments.
3. Decide what the plan is for stock options.

4. List 5 items on Poshmark/Ebay.
5. Make sure all returns are completed.

August has been quite stressful for my husband and I as our landlord reconsidered our living situation. Would we be staying or would we be going? And the pandemic made things even more exciting as we went on a search for a rental property. With impending stock goals, how would we handle the extra spend? What would 2021 look like for us in terms of finances and living space?

While we haven't quite worked it all out, that is the plan for September. That is our goal -- to figure all of that out.

I realize for many of you, the pandemic has taken a toll financially. How have you weathered the storm? Were you able to get out of a lease you couldn't afford? Were you able to find a place you could afford? Have you made any lifestyle changes because of covid? What do you anticipate happening as the year continues?

Financial Resolution Goals 2020

Financial Resolution Goals 2019