Five On Friday #2

Weekend - London Airshow

Happy Friday!!

I had a great response to my first Five On Friday post so I thought I would share another for this upcoming weekend.

  1. I took a half day at work today so I will be leaving work around 1 to drive to Canada with Brett. His sister, Mallory, lives near London so of course we had to visit her for the London Airshow.
  2. This is our fourth (and final) weekend in a row at an Airshow. I miss my bed! Air Show season is wrapping up and I can’t wait for some relaxing weekends at home.
  3. I will be reading The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick. I read My Life Next Door by Fitzpatrick last weekend and it was really good. The Boy Most Likely To continues on with some of the same characters and I am so excited to read it!
  4. Sunday we will be relaxing with Mallory and her boyfriend, Matt. Mallory lived in Michigan when I first met Brett so we are pretty close and I am really excited to spend some time with her. It’s been a year since I last visited!
  5. I also took Monday off work which means that Brett and I can have a pretty relaxing travel day back to Michigan. I hate feeling rushed while driving so I’m happy to have Monday off work!

I’d love to hear what you are up to this weekend!

Thanks for reading!

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99 Days by Katie Cotugno

99 Days Katie Cotugno Book Review Summer Reading List

Happy September, friends!

This summer has been full of reading for me! I just can’t seem to get enough of the fun “beach reads” even though I haven’t actually gone to the beach to read them. 😉 I am a fast reader but I have been amazed at how quickly I have been getting through books lately.

99 Days by Katie Cotugno was a quick and easy read that I couldn’t get enough of! I found myself relating so well to Molly even though (thankfully) my life has been much less dramatic than hers.

Molly Barlow just graduated from her high school boarding school in Arizona. Before she can head off to college in Boston she must spend 99 days back at home. The home she ran away from when her mom wrote a book detailing her love life.

I don’t want to give too much away but I spent pretty much the whole book hating Molly’s mom for her decision to publish the book. Of course, Molly should have made better decisions in the first place but moms are supposed to help and guide you. Not write every single detail of your most embarrassing moments for the whole world to read. Plus, high schoolers don’t make the best decisions. Mistakes help people learn and Molly should have been able to leave her mistake behind.

Anyway, I will get off my high horse and continue on with the book. Here’s the details according to Katie:

Molly Barlow is facing one long, hot summer—99 days—with the boy whose heart she broke and the boy she broke it for . . . his brother.

Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything. She has every right to hate me, of course: I broke Patrick Donnelly’s heart the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college and be done.

Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth, Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.”

Day 12: Gabe wouldn’t quit till he got me to come to this party, and I’m surprised to find I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me—and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me.

Gabe is so sweet to Molly throughout the book and for a second he is the only one who will talk to her. I really liked his character. I thought he was funny, charming, and so down to earth. I never really understood what Molly saw in Patrick.

In my opinion, cheating is very wrong. Judging people when you don’t know the whole story is also wrong. And as Ross Geller from Friends said, “We were on a break!”

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Break ups can be messy and confusing. Maybe they weren’t really broken up? Who knows? Point is, people shouldn’t have been so judgmental. Molly should not have been shunned and driven out of her hometown.

This book was addictive. I immediately ordered the sequel, 9 Days and 9 Nightsfrom Amazon and impatiently waited for it to be delivered. I even scoured the internet looking for free chapters while I waited. And let me tell you, 9 Days and Nights did not disappoint!

Have you read any amazing books lately?

Thanks for reading!

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8 Tips and Tricks to be more Financially Responsible

Learning How To Become Financially Responsible - How I graduated from college debt free plus more tips and tricks for saving money

 

Hey friends,

Today I thought I would share a little story with all of you. I get asked a lot of questions by friends and acquaintances about how I can be so young but so responsible. I always have a hard time explaining that I ended up this way based on the lessons my parents taught me growing up. I was extremely lucky to learn these lessons at a very early age. I didn’t always understand the “why” but I did understand what was expected of me.

I was lucky growing up. Both of my parents had jobs, we had a house to live in, drawers of clothes to wear, and there was always food on the table. However, I felt like the one girl in my class who did not have a Barbie Dream House. You know, the giant pink house with an elevator and fireplace with room enough for Barbie, Ken, and all of their friends?

I can remember going over to my friend’s house and playing with her Barbie Dream House. I wanted one so bad and made sure to tell my parents at every opportunity. I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t buy me one. They had jobs and I had lots of Barbie’s to put in the house. Didn’t I deserve a Barbie Dream House?

The answer is no. I was surrounded by Barbie’s, American Girl Dolls, and numerous other toys. My parents did not have a lot of disposable income but we still received many gifts and toys at Holidays and for our Birthdays. I can now appreciate all of the sacrifices my parents made for us.

What I didn’t know at the time, was that my parents were putting money into a CD and a savings account for me and my sister. The money that they could have spent on more toys for us was put into these accounts to save for our college educations. When I babysat or got money for holidays, my parents made me put half into the bank. I could spend or save the other half on things that I wanted.

Now I realize that this is the most important life lesson my parents taught me; how to be financially responsible.

I started working my junior year of high school and worked all the way through college. Here’s the cool thing, I wanted to work. My parents never forced me to get a job. I saved my money for tuition, books, a new car, etc. I took a lot of pride in being the only person in my college orientation group not relying on their parents for everything.

I graduated from college debt free. Partially because my mom works at the university but also because I knew how to save my money and applied for scholarships to help make up the difference.

Here are a few of my tips and tricks for managing money:

  1. Like my parents taught me at a very early age, put at least 50% of whatever you earn into the bank ASAP. That way you are not tempted to spend the money before it has been fully accounted for. For me, this includes my bi-weekly paychecks which are automatically deposited into my bank account as well as any birthday or holiday money that I may receive. My personal preference is to deposit 100% of my money into the bank first and then decide how the money needs to be spent or saved.
  2. Set financial goals for yourself that you would like to work towards. My main goal right now is to pay off my car and build another bathroom in our house. Since I know my goals it is so much easier for me to save money.
  3. Put $1,000 into an Emergency Fund for any crazy things that happen along the way. Life is crazy and there are always expenses that happen that we didn’t plan for. It’s great knowing that you have an emergency fund to fall back on if needed.
  4. Have different accounts for different reasons. My bank allows us to have several savings/checking accounts with the ability to name them whatever you want. I have a “house fund” and an “emergency fund” in addition to a couple of others.
  5. Communicate goals with your partner or spouse. Brett and I are constantly talking about our goals for the future. It’s so important to be on the same page about financial decisions!
  6. Have a budget. I cannot stress this enough. I have a budget for pretty much everything including groceries, gas, clothing, and “fun”. Your budget can be flexible but try to give yourself a range to stay within.
  7. Be willing to say no. My co-workers ask everyday if I want to grab coffee and the answer is always no. I say no for two reasons. 1. I don’t like coffee. 2. I’d rather save the $2+ every morning for something else. It’s okay to say yes every once in a while but be willing to bring your own coffee or lunch to save a bit of money.
  8. Be flexible. These changes will not happen overnight and that’s okay! Keep working towards your goals and eventually you will get there!

I’ve mentioned before that I work in the financial industry and I can honestly say that my interest in finance started from the lessons that my parents taught me about money. While people around me love to spend their money I would much rather save mine for something I really want or invest it towards my future.

I am lucky to have started saving at an early age but it’s never too late to change your spending habits! I hope these tips and tricks help you reach your financial goals!

Thanks so much for reading!

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Five On Friday

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Happy Friday!!

I am SO ready for the weekend even though it’s going to be crazy busy. I thought it would be fun to share five things that I’m loving or looking forward to this weekend!

  1. Tonight we are celebrating my dad’s retirement! He technically retired in May but my sister was in New York so we wanted to wait until she got home for the party.
  2. I went grocery shopping on Wednesday so now I have lots of healthy foods ready to go for the weekend. I’m trying really hard to eat healthy and lose weight.
  3. On Saturday we are going to a balloon fest and Sunday we are going to an airshow. I also have a Bridal Shower on Saturday. It’s another busy weekend!
  4. I made a huge order from The Limited that should be coming any day now. I am trying to completely refresh my professional wardrobe and I’m hoping a lot of the items I ordered online will work out! The Limited is having a great sale right now if you are on the hunt for affordable pieces to add to your wardrobe.
  5. I will be reading Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum this weekend. I have heard some pretty good reviews about this book so I have high hopes! It’s another YA novel so it should be a quick and fun weekend read.

What are you up to this weekend? I’m trying to soak in every last minute of summer!

Wishing you all a great Friday and weekend! 🙂

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Dealing With Bad Roommates in College

Dealing With Bad Roommates in College

Hey, friends!

I had way too many bad roommates in college. By sophomore year I thought that I deserved to finally have a good roommate. But fate played a cruel trick on me and made sophomore year ten times worse than freshman.

My freshman year ended with me choosing to live in the same dorm for the next year. I picked a room right down the hall from where I lived and threw myself into the roommate pool. My university had us take surveys to match us with a roommate and I answered very honestly.

I found out my match about a month before move in. I e-mailed her right away to introduce myself but never heard back. I couldn’t find anything out about her on social media but I am a pro internet searcher so right before we moved in I was able to find her. Turns out, she didn’t go by her actual name and instead went by a “stage name”.

Let’s call roommate “P” for the sake of the story. P had already moved into our room when I got there. Our dorm was pretty cool because we had two rooms. The first room had to be walked through to get to the second. P picked the room in the back.

I have no idea how long she had lived there when I moved in but the room was disgusting by the time I moved in. There was trash everywhere and it smelled horrible! My mom and I tried to introduce ourselves but she didn’t move from her bed or acknowledge us. I thought it would get better.

I moved all of my stuff in and got settled. P slept during the day and hardly left the room. I wondered if she went to any classes. I swear she slept with her eyes open too. There was a door separating our rooms but she refused to shut it even when I wanted to change or sleep. At night she’d blare her TV which was against the same wall as my bed. I tried to ask her to turn it down or shut the door but she was super rude about it and I hate confrontation.

My mom works at my university but I hated using her for anything. I didn’t want any special treatment. I went straight to the hall director and he explained to me that I had to stay in that room for two full weeks before I could petition to move rooms. I was devastated.

The more I stayed in the room the more I felt unsafe. I couldn’t sleep, study, or relax in that room. I tried to talk to my RA who came to our room to mediate but it was a joke. My RA actually seemed scared of P and the mediation only made things worse for me.

The hall director gave me two options after my two weeks were up. 1. Move to a single room and pay an extra $2,500 per semester or 2. Choose the only remaining room needing a roommate. I chose the roommate.

This post is already super long so please let me know if you want to hear about Roommate #2. Let’s just say that she was the exact opposite of me in every single way.

I don’t want this post to be negative or to scare you away from having a roommate. I know a ton of people who met their best friends in college and I wish that was true for me. Take the chance on a roommate! Even if it turns out bad then at least you tried and had the experience of living with a roommate

If you are about to start your freshman year I really urge you to take a chance and say yes to new opportunities. You honestly never know when something great will happen and it’s better to put yourself out there then regret not doing anything.

If you are in a bad situation make sure you ask for help. I wish P and I could have resolved our issues but she really didn’t want anything to do with me and that’s okay. You won’t be everyone’s cup of tea and that’s a life lesson that I needed to learn. It’s not okay to treat someone the way she treated me and I’m usually not a quitter. But in this case, I needed to remove myself from the situation in order to feel safe.

Just remember that you never know what someone else is going through. I try not to think too negatively about P because I have no idea what was going on in her life at the time. It was still no excuse to treat me the way that she did but I still wish her the best.

Let me know what your roommate experiences were like!

Thanks for reading!

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6 Things I Wish I Could Tell My High School Best Friend

6 Things I Wish I Could Tell High School Best Friend

Happy Monday!

I had a dream last night about my old high school best friends. Our group of friends fell apart my junior year and by the time we were seniors we barely talked at all. But at one point that group of girls meant everything to me.

In my dream, we were in my friend’s basement where we spent so many nights at. It felt so familiar. The strange thing was that my friend wanted nothing to do with me. I tried to talk to her but she kept walking away.

In real life this friend deleted me on Facebook and has avoided me in public when I know for a fact that she saw me. I made a list of the six things I wish I could tell her but know that I never will.

  1. I still think of you often and hope that you are well.
  2. I have no bad feelings towards you. In fact, I don’t even remember why we aren’t friends anymore. I think we just grew apart but I’m sorry if I did anything to hurt you.
  3. Our friendship meant so much to me. I’m glad I had you in my life even though it was only for a few years.
  4. I’m proud of you. From what I can see, it looks like you are living your best life. I used to know all your goals and aspirations and even though things have changed, it still looks like you have lived out your dreams.
  5. It really hurts that you deleted me on Facebook. I know it doesn’t matter but I feel like you just erased me from your life.
  6. I’m still here if you ever need to talk to anyone.

Friendships can be tricky and the older I get the more I realize this. I don’t think I’ll ever have a group of friends like my middle/high school group of girls. Things weren’t always perfect but I knew that they always had my back. So much time has passed that I don’t remember why we are no longer friends and the truth is that I don’t really care.

I do have two girls from elementary school that I am still friends with. Our friendship has stood the test of time and even though we are hundreds of miles apart I know we will be friends for the rest of our lives.

Are you still in contact with your high school friends?

Thanks so much for reading!

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Our First Wedding Anniversary

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Today is the day! One year ago I was at the hair salon getting my makeup and hair done for our wedding. I was dressed in my getting ready robe and surrounded by my friends. We drank mimosas and ate bagels and fruit on the back deck of the salon. I felt a little anxious but mostly excited and SO ready to start the day.

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Meanwhile, Brett was back at our apartment with his friends. He won’t admit it but he was a little anxious too. He forgot his vows so our brother in law had to go back and grab them. Brett, the groomsmen, and my dad met at the venue in the morning to setup the centerpieces and other décor. They then went back to my parent’s house for lunch.

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I can’t believe it’s already been a year. I can still remember exactly how I felt during each moment of our day. I hope we never lose the newlywed feeling or forget how much we loved each other on this day.

 

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Our first year of marriage was full of changes. We lost Brett’s Grandma Emma in December which was devastating for both of us. We went to many, many airshows where Brett took on new roles such as Assistant Air Boss. Brett started a new job in event planning and has really excelled! We bought our first house and have loved getting settled in it. We traveled to London, Florida, New York, and many other places. We adopted Oscar and settled into life as a family of four.

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Marriage has been easy so far but I know it won’t always be that way. Brett and I are lucky because we are really good friends in addition to being husband and wife. I hope when it gets tough we can remember the love we felt on our wedding day and continue to fight for each other. I love him more today than I did on our wedding day and I know that love will keep growing.

It’s been a great year and I am looking forward to many more!

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