Tuesday Thoughts: Too Many People

Too many people

Don’t keep up with the Joneses. You don’t even like them. It’s time to impress yourself.

love,
melanie

Link Love: 36

rp_Link-Love-1024x102411111111-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x1024.jpg These bus homes are rad.

DIY hammocks! This would be perfect for this summer.

This guy made over $2,00 from decluttering. 

Why this woman wears the exact same thing to work every day. I love this! And it’s such a cute outfit.

This woman spoofs 10 fashion ads. I love the Givenchy one.

This DIY pleated midi skirt is gorgeous and looks so professional. Maybe this this can be my uniform ;)

This rescue dog and baby are partners in crime and in fashion. The aviator hat KILLED me.

The 30 best hikes around the globe. I want to do all of them!

When others frustrate you. I need to bookmark this one!

The science of why you should spend your money on experiences, not things.

Simplify–it’s not just a nice idea.

That’s all folks!

love,
melanie

Houseless, not Homeless

airstream in the fall Last week we had a funny thing happen. Someone that George had known from the church he went to when he was growing up dropped off a card full of cash at our house! Apparently they had heard that George was unemployed (he’s not) and that we were having a hard time (we’re not). But they also had driven by and saw the trailer, so they assumed all of that information was correct. It was a super sweet gesture and I was certainly happy to receive the gift, but we are not “in need.” We’ve returned the money and I thought it might be nice to share the letter that I attached to the money.

Dear _______________,

Thank you so much for your generous gift. It is comforting to know that in a time of need, neighbors, friends and strangers will be there for you. I am writing to you today because this is not our time of need and we cannot accept your gift. Please let me explain.

Almost two years ago, George and I were at a crossroads. I had a new job opportunity in the area. Unfortunately, the job requires me to work evenings. I knew with both of us working “regular jobs,” we would rarely get to see each other. At the same time, George was working as a teacher by day and illustrating by night. Together we made the decision that George should quit his teaching job to pursue his art full-time. In order to get George’s business off the ground, we knew that we would have to make some sacrifices. I make a decent wage at my job, but we knew that it would be difficult to pay rent or buy a house and establish a small business at the same time. Therefore, we decided to live a simpler, smaller life. It is the best decision we have ever made. I know it may look strange to others, but our lifestyle was and is our choice. We consider ourselves very lucky. Neither George nor I have ever known hunger and this lifestyle has given us the ability to save money to pursue our dreams.

I cannot thank you enough for your concern and your gift. Knowing that people care about us is a gift in and of itself.

Thank you,
Melanie and George

Matthew 6:22 “The lamp of the body is the eye. If, then, your eye is simple, your whole body will be bright.”

Have anyone ever thought you were in need due to your lifestyle choices? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

love,
melanie

Tuesday Thoughts: Bloom

flower

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the comparison trap. It’s also very easy to tell yourself things like, “the grass isn’t always greener…” but still have feelings of jealousy and diminished worth. Instead try to compare yourself to yourself. Am I happier today than I was yesterday? Am I healthier? Am I making steps toward improvement? What can I change and what can’t I change? Am I blooming?

love,
melanie

Traveling to Charleston, South Carolina on a Budget

Charleston park I’ve been under a lot of stress at work, so when I finished up the huge conference I was planning, I threw caution to the wind and decided to go on a little weekend getaway. I’ve been on a spending fast for a while, i.e. I only spend $100 per month on unnecessary stuff. I knew this would totally blow my budget, but I did it anyway. Travel is so important to me, but I also know that if I travel too much, I’ll never save any money. It’s a Catch 22.

swamp in Charleston swamp in Charleson We did a lot of things to cut costs for this trip. Charleston is only four hours from our home so we drove there in my fuel-efficient car. I found a budget hotel and used my credit card points to book it. We packed snacks, we participated in free attractions (we found a gorgeous park and visited the beach!), we had a continental breakfast each morning at the hotel and, although we ate at restaurants several times, we also picked up dinner from a local grocery store.

George and Bambi Bambi at the beach We even took Bambi with us! That was an adventure, but places were much more accommodating than I imagined. And after she got used to the hotel and not barking every time someone shut a door, she calmed down. By the end of the trip, she was a road dog. We even took her on a horse-drawn carriage ride around the city. Ha-ha. I’m sure we looked insane, but I love that little girl.

rainbow row

charleston house

How huge are these houses?!

house in charleston Charleston house george in Charleston Charleston is so pretty and I’m glad we got to share it together as a family. After the trip, I felt much more relaxed and ready to take on the world.

What are your favorite tips for budget travel? I want to hear all about it in the comments!

love,
melanie

Frugal Friday: Be Your Own Advocate

IMG_1066 I work with a student who recently got into a car accident. He wasn’t injured, but his car was totaled. The insurance company was giving him the run-around and since English is not his first language, he was having a bit of trouble understanding what they were telling him. So, being the nosy helpful person that I am, I called the insurance company for him. I had to talk to three people before they told me that the girl who totaled his car was not insured at the time of the accident and therefore would not be covered. After I got off the phone, I explained to him that sometimes (American?) companies will give you the run-around and you might have to go through three people to get a straight answer. This was baffling to him. I explained that you have to be an advocate for yourself.

I am happy to say that my student got a lawyer and is now working out the details of the case, but I’ve still been thinking about the experience. I realized that I haven’t been an advocate for myself. I preach about being an advocate for your money and doing what is best for you financially, but I haven’t been an advocate for myself in all aspects of my life.

I don’t want to go into too much detail, but I’ve been having some health issues for the past couple of years. I’ve seen multiple doctors and to be honest, they’ve brushed me off. On the outside I am healthy. I eat insanely clean. I exercise. I sleep at least 8 hours a night. But I’ve had many doctors tell me that my problems weren’t real problems. This is extremely discouraging and to be honest, it had me feeling like it was my problem. I simply wasn’t trying hard enough. I wasn’t eating clean enough, I wasn’t working out enough. But I’ve come to realize that it’s not just me. I need to be an advocate for my health. If one doctor doesn’t believe me, I need to get a second opinion. I need to ask the right questions and stand up for myself because I know my body better than any outside person.

Just like own bodies, we know what is best for us. We have to be an advocate for ourselves in all aspects of our lives— our health, our financial life and our lifestyle. This might mean calling the cable company and asking for a lower rate. If you aren’t given one, it might mean dropping cable all together. This might mean losing the facade of a big, beautiful home and downsizing to a more affordable place. This might also mean seeking out healthcare providers that sit calmly beside us and truly listen to our issues.

I know this has been a round-about story, but I want to encourage you to be an advocate for yourself. If there is an aspect of your life that isn’t working, I want you to know that you can seek out the help you need and that you do have the courage to do it. You can be an advocate for yourself. I believe in you.

love,
melanie

Link Love: 35

rp_Link-Love-1024x102411111111-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x1024.jpg The salary required to be middle class in every state. Such an eye-opener.

Molly tried Rent the Runway and loved it! Such a good idea for the upcoming “wedding season.”

I’m talking about boredom and stress spending over on And Then We Saved.

Watch out for these products that charge more for “Women’s Versions.” Ugh!

The many ways retailers use coupons to trick you into spending more. YES! I say this all the time and so many people are like “nuh-uh! coupons work!” Not always, crazy coupon people.

Fathers, you can’t afford a stay-at-home mom. So touching. And I love that he did a financial breakdown and everything.

Tips for traveling with pets. We just traveled to Charleston with Bambi and these tips were super helpful.

My friend, Heather is taking a cross-country trip with her parents! She’s insane, in a good way. She’s documenting her travels in a blog. Check it out here.

I love quirky houses. This one is so charming in all the best ways.

This “awful library book” teaches you how to live in a van… it’s too real.

Your Internet habits create your reality.

And similarly, What we consume determines the lives we live.

If we are not busy, are we worthy? YES, YES, YES. ALL DAY, YES.

Things that scare me. Good lord, this one resonated.

And just for fun, this dog eating yogurt is my favorite thing ever.

See you on the flip side!

love,
melanie