Surf the Web Saturdays – v. 24

First, I have to say that I have no words for the latest school shooting that happened just a few hours south of here. I have had the news on while I write this (blog secret: on Friday) and I’m about to turn it off. I can’t put into words how heart broken I am for the families of those students and that community. The reports of how that happened are terrifying and the fact that there are rumors that people were killed because of their religion make me sick. Gunning down people because of their religion is disgusting, no matter what that association may be.

I don’t know the answer. I have some ideas but they’re all divisive and this is not the space for them. But I can’t imagine that this country can go much longer before we put aside all of our differences and do SOMETHING about the fact that elementary school kids literally have shooter in the school drills like we used to have earthquake drills. I’m not OK with that.

great blog posts

On a happy and exciting note, Neely launched a HUGE announcement this week! Her blog has gotten a facelift and a new name: It Starts With Coffee. It does, doesn’t it? Check it out! Not only does it look absolutely gorgeous, she’s launching several new courses that include a review of your own blog, but only for a limited time!

I found Desiree at The 36th Avenue this week thanks to Pinterest! I can’t wait to read more of her blog. She shared several camping hacks that I’m definitely going to incorporate into my camping bag!

I got my latest Stitch Fix and have to choose what I want to wear and send it back today. If you’re considering a stitch fix and want to maximize your choices, check out Anne’s latest post on the subject: 13 Things I’ve Learned in 30 Months of Stitch Fix.

Are you working toward saving money, paying down debt or prioritizing your spending? This post is spot on: 6 Habits of Highly Frugal People.

I don’t have the patience, creativity or ability to cut along a line to cut jack o’ lanters. This tutorial is a super easy to follow way to decorate pumpkins! They’re so pretty!

I don’t share enough of Hayley’s posts. She’s a huge inspiration to me and has such a beautiful soul. She wrote a post about self care that I think everyone here can read and benefit from. Remember, if you’re not taking care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else!

What were your favorite posts this week?

A Review of Three Wineries to Visit with Friends or Alone in Chelan, WA

A Review of Three Wineries in Chelan, WA

Recently, I headed over to Chelan, Washington to get away for the weekend. It was a mostly-solo trip and it was just what I needed to recharge after a really stressful month. Chelan is an amazing part of wine country in Washington state. I spent the days by myself and didn’t want to miss the full Chelan experience just because I was alone.

After a morning of blogging, breakfast and a nap with a gorgeous view of the lake, I decided it was time to go wine tasting!
A Review of Three Wineries in Chelan, WA near Campbell's Resort
I searched online for a list of wineries near my hotel (Campbell’s Resort). I chose three that were near each other, and also near some other options. I also looked up transportation options because I definitely did not want to drive while wine tasting. #DrinkResponsibly As far as I could tell there was one cab company, Lake Chelan Cab Company. 

The Lake Chelan Cab Company was a nice woman in a standard car. She was very polite, informative and helpful. My only complaint is that when you’re the only cab company in a town full of wineries, you can get away with a $17 “drive to a winery” surcharge. My 3 mile cab ride was much more expensive than I expected and I texted some girlfriends that I was going to walk back to the hotel after I was done. (Spoiler alert: after wine tasting for several hours, you don’t care about a $17 cab ride back.) In any case, as I used to tell my criminal clients – a cab is cheaper than a DUI!

The first winery I went to is called Siren Song Wines.
A Review of Three Wineries in Chelan, WA The hostess when I came in was nice, and so was the server who took care of my orders. The wines each have their own unique story, which was fun to read. The winery is still under major construction. It has potential to have a great vibe when it’s all finalized and they have their outdoor patio open. Unfortunately it was lacking in ambiance. I also wasn’t impressed by any of the wines. Because I hadn’t eaten, I planned to get a bite to eat there, but the apps were quite expensive ($20 for a cheese/crackers/meat platter).

It wasn’t a bad winery by any means, but it wasn’t for me so I finished my three glasses and went on to Fielding Hills. I do think a larger group (even just 3 people) would enjoy this winery more and I did see a bachelorette party come in and they looked like they loved it. But if you’re wine tasting solo, it may not be the right vibe for you.

All of the wineriers were on hills off of the road. The cab driver gave me tips on how to climb over the little embankment between the first two so that I wouldn’t have have to walk all the way to the bottom of one driveway, and then right back up. I really appreciated this and it saved me a lot of time. Even if someone in your party is driving, you might as well climb over and then climb back to your car.

A Review of Three Wineries, and what it's like to visit them alone, in Chelan, WA

When I got into Fielding Hills Winery I was a little nervous because they only had red wine. I’m a white-wine girl, myself. But it turns out I loved 4 out of 5 of their tasting options. The only one I didn’t like was their merlot, and I’ve never sipped a merlot I liked so that wasn’t surprising and probably says nothing about the quality of their merlot. They also had pre-packaged snacks that were very affordable and actually really good. I had crackers and peppered salami. That was a perfect combo for all of that red wine.

A Review of Three Wineries in Chelan, WA

The best part is that the bar tenders were super sweet and welcoming. Then when the sun finally came out and it warmed up, I was able to go sit outside under an umbrella and they brought the rest of my tasting out to me as appropriate. By this time, I didn’t care at all that I was wine tasting alone and originally felt like a loser. It was awesome, haha. I need time alone to recharge and that was the perfect recharging after weeks of working long hours and being under a lot of personal stress.

A Review of Three Wineries in Chelan, WA

After the weather stayed nice and warm for like 45 minutes, everyone inside came out and I felt bad hogging a seating area so I moved onto the next winery, Nefarious Cellars. But first, I took advantage of a good sale that Fielding Hills was having and bought a couple bottles of wine for later. Yum!

A Review of Three Wineries in Chelan, WA

There wasn’t a short cut between Fielding Hills and Nefarious Cellars so I walked down the hill, and then back up it. I did see people driving between the two and it looked much easier, but again, you’d need a designated driver after at least 8 tastings of wine! The view at the top of Nefarious was STUNNING.

Let’s go back to the weekend instead of to work, ok? Deal. @nefariouscellars #nofilter

A photo posted by Brittany (@brittany_wmsb) on

Nefarious had a kid friendly play ground, as opposed to Siren Song, which had none (maybe they will when construction is done?) and Fielding Hills which had no problem with kids running around on their gorgeous lawns. They all seemed kid friendly but as a childless person, I liked that the kids were all congregated to one area at Nefarious.
A Review of Three Wineries in Chelan, WA
The wines at Nefarious were also delish. They also had a cook book for sale written by a fellow blogger. I thought that was super neat. Because I just had a lot of red wine, I limited my tastings to the white wine. In the end, I bought a bottle of that as well.

A Review of What it's Like to go Wine Tasting Alone in Chelan, WA

This is my “I’ve tasted a lot of wine!” face.

I appreciated the service here as well and did get special treatment since I was alone. When a space was about to open up at the bar, a bartender came and got me to tell me about it. After I was done tasting and buying another bottle of wine, I called the cab service for a ride back, and walked back down the hill. A Review of Three Wineries in Chelan, WA
By this time the weather had warmed up enough to stay outside so when I got back to the hotel, I put on my bathing suit and headed to the beach! It was a perfect way to spend a solo day in Chelan, WA!

Have you ever gone wine tasting alone? What about another activity that seems awkward at first by yourself, but ends up being awesome? Tell me about it in the comments!

My Credit Card Debt Story

In November 2014 I started an aggressive debt payoff plan. My goal – to be credit card debt free by 30 (December 2015). I got my first credit card at 18 years old, right before I went to college. Then I got sucked into those swag perks they aren’t allowed to give college kids anymore, and got a couple more. I graduated from college in 2007 with about $5,000 on my credit cards, and then went straight to law school where I made basically 0 progress on paying them off. I graduated from law school in 2007 with an embarrassing amount of debt left + a car payment and student loans that weren’t yet six figures. I spent a little while in a half-attempt to pay things off. After my first year of practice, my two retail credit cards were paid off, and my bank credit card was paid off. These were all lower limit cards so I had a couple higher limit cards left. I was excited to pay them off and keep making progress on my debt.
But then I didn’t. I was 25, and got a new job at a big firm. It wasn’t a BIGlaw salary by any means but it was significantly more than I’d ever made. And I assumed that my salary would never go lower than that job. So I traded in my Jeep and bought a brand new car, and a lot of clothes at the outlet malls in Vegas. I made a little bit of progress on the cards, and did save several thousand dollars, but I could have done so much more.

In actuality, the monthly expense of the new car was lower than owning my Jeep, but the net worth impact wasn't.

In actuality, the monthly expense of the new car was lower than owning my Jeep, but the net worth impact wasn’t.

I ended up leaving that firm after about a year because of some things I disagreed with, and my next job was a major pay cut. MAJOR. It was worth the sanity perk, but it did have a HUGE impact on my long term finances. After that, the credit cards did not get much attention. I left that job with about $8,000 on cards.

As you all know, I ended up making a sudden move to Washington and took the bar exam here. Thanks to my savings I was able to pay cash for the WA BarBri course and the bar exam (a $4,000-$5,000 expense), but ended up getting a new card to pay for my U-Haul shipping box. (Side note: I would not recommend these unless you’re on your very first move, don’t own any furniture, and aren’t in a hurry to get your stuff.)
studying for the bar
Because I used basically all of my savings on the bar, any time I felt like I made progress, something would come up and I’d have to charge it. I never felt like I could get ahead. I was cutting back in all of the ways I knew how, but it was so discouraging to constantly deprive myself and never see any results. So then I’d binge (as much as I could making pennies on the dollar compared to what everyone thinks lawyers make a year). Nothing felt like it was working. By the end I had about $11,000 that I owed on three credit cards.

Finally, I came up with a plan. I couldn’t stand to live under the control of credit cards anymore. The thought of student loans haunting me for 25 years was bad enough, I wasn’t about to give Visa the same excitement.

Lunch planning was very important.

Lunch planning was very important.

The habits I built while I was cutting back have been key to the progress I’ve made now, but there were also some extreme measures I took to tell those cards that I wouldn’t let them control my decision making anymore.

Stephanie told me I should start sharing numbers so that people can see the results, so as scary and vulnerable as this feels, I hope to be brave enough to do that as you all join me in the end of my credit card journey.

Next in the series: How I paid off $5,000 in credit card debt in 6 months (while making a student loan payment, car payment, and saving a tiny bit of money); What resources I used to help encourage me and keep me on track; How to save money and not be bored to death, and more.

A Flashback of Friendship & a PayPal Giveaway

I have been out of town for 5 of the last 7 days, and am leaving again tomorrow. It’s been totally crazy. But it won’t stop there. This weekend, I’m finally going to Blogpodium! I cannot wait to go meet new bloggers and learn from the experts. It reminds me of one of one of the first times I met a blog friend in real life! That was Stephanie!


Recently, Stephanie and Susannah created a Beta Facebook Group called The Web. It’s meant to draw together bloggers to brainstorm, get to know each other, provide encouragement and constructive criticism and open up dialogue about this hobby/business we all have. I have had to play a lot of catch up because I’ve been so busy, but it’s been an amazing group to be a part of.

Excitingly, the group is hosting a giveaway! If you want to win $22 of PayPal cash, enter using the rafflecopter below! Also, if you’re interested in joining the next “The Web” leave a comment and I’ll get you in touch with Stephanie!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also, the next time we see each other I’ll be a world-traveler! Yay!

TWOsday – v.1

Stephanie has been doing a TWOsday post for awhile and finally this week I remembered to participate! You can too! Just write about two random things that have been on your mind, products you’ve been using, books you’ve been reading… two of whatever, and then go link up!

Two on Tuesday


I sprained my ankle a couple of years ago by stepping in a pothole outside of my apartment while wearing 4″  heels. I wrote an angry email to the city. They never replied. But I continued to wear heels all the time.


Then, after running a 5k where I really strained both of them because of bad shoes, I started cutting back on the heels. I used to be able to go to a special event and keep ridiculously high, luxury heels on my feet all night. I made it 4.5 hours on Saturday before these babies came off.

No, I cannot get him to take a serious photo unless it's his idea first.

No, I cannot get him to take a serious photo unless it’s his idea first.

My ankles weren’t suffering, thankfully. Barre class has helped them so much. But the balls of my feet were like, “WHAT ARE  YOU DOING PUTTING ALL OF  YOUR WEIGHT ON ME?!”


I hate to admit defeat, but ouch! And yes, I had to wash my feet in the cabin tub before I went to bed.


I’m going to Blogpodium this weekend! I cannot wait! I don’t know many people going, so if you are, let me know!

Not only is it my first out-of-town blog conference since Influence Conference (had serious FOMO knowing people were there this weekend!), it will also my first time out of the country! While Canada isn’t terribly far or a major cultural shift, from what I hear, I am so excited for this milestone in my life.

I’m going to lose my ice-breaker response to any “tell us 2 truths and 1 lie” question, but I think it will be worth it :).

TWO 1/2

I missed the Cowboys game yesterday because the drive from Idaho to Western WA was 7 hours long. I caught some of it on the Cowboys radio app, but then I lost service. I woke up from a nap to one of our road-trip buddies saying “Tony Romo broke his collar bone!” You better believe that snapped me awake.

Two of my favorite things: Tony Romo and In 'n Out

Two of my favorite things: Tony Romo and In ‘n Out

I am not going to address this in much detail, partly because I’m in denial. But I have to say, if my first ever NFL game, my first visit to AT&T stadium and my first tour of the stadium will be when Tony isn’t even playing, I am going to be so bummed! I know there’s a split in the Cowboys fans about Tony, but I’ve loved him since day 1. I’m sending him good vibes and prayers for a speedy recovery. I know the weekend will still be amazing no matter what! (I also don’t think our playoff hopes are destroyed because of it.) #CowboysNation

OK, that’s enough Cowboys whining. Make sure you go link-up with Stephanie for Two on Tuesday!