3 Month Warning

My #101in1001 list ends September, 29th. That’s 3 months to finish a lot of stuff…

In the last year, I’ve:

  • Run a Disney race/half marathon
  • Visited Japan, gotten harajuku makeover, dyed my hair purple(fuchsia) and got as close as I could to the apex of an active volcano
  • 2 books away from reading 50 books in 2.75 year
  • Seen Taylor Swift in concert
  • Visited New York City and Portland, Maine
  • Completed a 52-week money-saving challenge and donated the bulk of it

But in the next 3 months, I have much much more to tick off the list. Those that do not get accomplished before deadline will be added to my next list, starting October 1st.

Some fun points on my next list: Read The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide and The Dark Tower Series, Host a Thanksgiving, Take regular kickboxing classes, Learn how to can, and Visit Crater Lake.

But before we get to that, I’ve already scheduled my next mud run (Rugged Maniac in August). I need to schedule a fun shopping scavenger hunt to pick up things from Nina Garcia’s One Hundred, and I have to finish re-finishing my great-grandmother’s dresser.

Troy and I have our full-day date planned for this weekend (in Chattanooga), and I am *this close* to making the appointment for my first tattoo.


Yesterday, I got a Facebook comment that dressing up Harajuku is “Kinda weird, no?”. Isn’t that the point? Not to mention, who makes trolling Facebook comments at 32. Get a real life…

I pride myself on being able to walk the line between non-traditional and classic. Building an interesting life with a little bit of old and the experiences of the new. The outcome? I always have something to look forward to.

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2016 so far…

Since my last post (almost a year ago, ouch…), we’ve visited Maine, NYC, Japan together and are finally circling back around to getting this house presentable.

We’ve have a handful of family visits just in the past 6 weeks, so we’ve been working overtime to get our yard and guest rooms up to par.

We are now the proud owners of 6 small boxwood bushes, 3 fully-mulched flower beds, 2 porch topiaries with pots, a recently-trimmed 15ft. camellia bush, and a new trash can. It’s a super smart trash+recycling can, so I can’t contain my excitement.

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On the bright side, our yard looks great and you can tell all the afternoons we’ve put in are starting to pay off. However, like most home owners know, the work will never be completely done. Now that we’ve exhausted all the projects we can do on our own, we have  begin our long-term investments. These include:

  • New vinyl siding to replace the original wood siding
  • New thermal windows. All of the windows are original to the house and 100% of them have broken seals.
  • Deck refinishing. While the support structure is sound, many of the slats are cracked  and/or bowing. I’d like to replace these with composite slats that are waterproof and weather durable (and also not an ugly brown).
  • New garage doors. Along with the siding, these doors are original, made of wood, and are painted a rather unappealing  antique color.

Most of these projects should be done in the next year and I’m estimating a good $25-28K should cover it. Any idea where to find it?

While I know real estate investments can be very profitable if handled correctly, this house was not meant to be a short investment. We love out house, our neighborhood and our town, and unless something amazing comes around the corner, we are planning on staying in this house for the next 5-10 years. No need to have the return on investment, or how good the market is (or is not), or the what-do-we-do-if-we-have-more-than-two-kids talk.

More photos of the house to come, probably when more family comes to visit and we have to emergency tidy up again…

 

 

The Americans, Part 1

Patti Travel_01 When Troy and I decided not to have a wedding reception, one of the compromises was that I wanted a two-week honeymoon instead of a one-week. That decision was made last June. In the eight months since, I’ve had blogs and spreadsheets and travelogues on the brain, trying to put together the trip of a lifetime. How many cities, for how long, and what exactly is our budget? I like to think I’m particularly gifted in time management and organization, because so far this trip is going to be a whirlwind. A European crash-course in London, Paris and Rome. Now that we are three months out and starting to actually buy things (flights, passes, hotels), here are some of the things that have saved my life and my time.

  1. Google Maps + Excel: I created a multi-page spreadsheet to track our itineraries and budget. From all of the articles and blog posts and travel books, I made a master list of everything we wanted to see and do in each of the three cities we chose.  I divvied them up by location/arrondisement and created a custom google map for each day. Now we can see explore each part of the city, see the main attractions, and not waste time in transit. A screen shot of our Paris Google Map is in the graphic above.
  2. TravelPro: I’ve been traveling for work for 7 years now. I’ve had two roll aboard bags and yesterday, I just order us new ones. In December, I stopped in to the TravelPro Outlet store to check out new luggage, since Troy’s bag was out of commission. My salesman was great and picked out two models that would survive the European cobble streets: the TravelPro Maxlite for Troy since he doesn’t travel as much and packs fairly light, and the Crew for me, the kind that pilots and flight attendants use. We were able to get the latest 22-inch models of each bag at a great price. They both have considerable packing space while still being considered a carry-on. If you are considering buying a new roll aboard, get the 2-wheeled models, not the 4-wheel spinner bags. Two wheels allow for easier transportation and they give you much more packing space.
  3. AirBnB: Thanks to work travel, Troy and I have accumulated an obscene amount of Hilton and Marriott Reward points. This will make our London hotel entirely free, and our Rome hotel deeply discounted. But for Paris, I wanted to rent an apartment not only to take advantage of the open food markets, but also to have a washer and dryer. We found a cute two room apartment in the 19th, six days for $650 on AirBnB. We booked the apartment 2 weeks ago, so now our trip finally feels real. This has completely freed up a lot of our budget, and we don’t have to pack nearly as much. Awesome way to travel light!
  4. The Paris Pass and the Roma Pass: Yes, the Paris Pass is expensive, but this is our honeymoon after all. A six-day pass for six days in Paris, the Paris Pass includes free entry and express admission to all of the museums and monuments on our list, as well as open access to the Metro and public transit. In this case since we’re trying to hit all the big things in a limited window, we do save money and time. On our next trip to Paris, since we would’ve already seen the major attractions, we probably won’t need to buy a Paris Pass again. The Roma Pass offers complimentary entries and fast passes to our first two attractions in Rome and discounted entry to the attractions after. This Pass is considerably less expensive and also perfect since we will only be spending three nights in Rome. Both passes make my trip planning so much easier.

What are your favorite MVPs for trip planning? Bon Voyage! ~Patti