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Brittany

5 New to Me Podcasts that I Think You Will Love!

Blogging, Debt Repayment, Fitness

I’m a huge music fan, and listen to it basically all day long at work. I pay for the Spotify Premium plan so that I don’t have to hear the commercials. (They sucked me in with one of those “three months for only 99 cents” promos and I’ve never been able to go back!) But when I’m in the car, going for a run, or sometimes even when I’m cleaning my house, I listen to podcasts.

In April 2015, I told you guys about my four favorite podcasts for working out and commuting. The top two podcasts on that list, Listen Money Matters and Around the Table are still my two absolute favorites and I listen to them all the time. I still like Joyce Meyer’s and the Ted Talks’ podcasts, but they update so frequently that it overwhelms me. I had to unsubscribe from both of them.

I didn’t realize it had been so long since I shared my favorite podcasts with you guys! So today seemed like a great day for that.

5 Podcasts I think You will Love - Perfect for bloggers, debt repayment and making your commute and run go by faster!

Being Boss

site // subscribe with iTunes // Facebook group

I can’t believe I’ve never told you guys about Being Boss! I’ve been subscribed to this Podcast for over a year. I love it! It was the first “boss” titled business I’ve come across. I don’t sign up for new things called “boss [anything],” because I’m so sick of it. But Emily and Kathleen are true Bosses, who are out to build everyone else up, too. Being Boss has an eclectic set of topics and guests. I listened to one of my favorite episodes last summer. It was about roles and communication with your business partner. If you’ve ever considered going into business with a friend or colleague, or you’re in a partnership now, check out that episode.

My favorite part about Being Boss is that episodes aren’t only about the technical aspects of certain types of businesses. Episodes discuss blogging, but also being a soloprenuer, an artist, a freelance writer, a business coach, and then also the heart-stuff. You’ll find really helpful episodes about getting through negative feedback, avoiding burnout, and a recent one that I loved, called F*ck Fear.

If you’re looking for guidance and two new friends, Being Boss is for you.

ProBlogger Podcast

site // subscribe with iTunes // Facebook group

I was really late to the ProBlogger train. I know he’s been blogging for roughly the same amount of time as I have, and he was making money well before most people did. But for some reason, I never got on board with his 30 Days to a Better blog e-book or other challenges. I regret that now!

Thankfully, on sort of a dare when someone asked what he wanted to do that year and he finally vocalized that he wanted to start a Podcast, he began recording episodes! I LOVE this Podcast. I listen to almost every single episode. Darren does a fantastic job giving the basics, but also sharing professional level tips that I had not considered trying myself. The only problem is that I listen to his episodes in the car a lot, and I can’t get to my computer and immediately start blogging! One episode I really liked was called 5 Tips from Full Time Bloggers, which was based on research from a survey Darren had done with professional bloggers.

If you’re ever in a rut, turn to the ProBlogger Podcast and soak it all up. You’ll be ready to start writing or making technical updates to your blog IMMEDIATELY.

Her Money Matters

site // subscribe with iTunes // Facebook group

Jen Hemphill is a money coach who talks about the real life impact our money mindset has on our life. She interviews incredibly inspiring experts and people with experience in tough money situations, but also shares episodes where it’s just her, discussing her real-life money goals, plans and pain points. Her Money Matters is the only Podcast that inspired me to go buy a book written by one of the guests. The Work Your Way to Wealth episode was chock full of useful information that I could understand even though I’m not a financial planner and I’ve made money mistakes.

The down-to-earth approach of this podcast makes it really easy to listen to and walk away feeling motivated to keep my financial goals. If you’re in need of a judgment free girlfriend to keep you on track with your short term and long term financial goals, subscribe to HMM now!

(As far as I know, Her Money Matters and Listen Money Matters are not affiliated in any way.)

Blog Fuel

site // subscribe with iTunes

There is so much wisdom and real life knowledge behind each episode of Blog Fuel that I feel like I’ve learned a ton every single time I listen. Kirsten and her guests can be pretty opinionated, and I don’t always agree with their hard stance on certain things, but I LOVE this podcast. More often than not, I’m thinking, “amen, sister!” while I’m driving along! I think it’s fantastic that no one holds back because you know you’re getting the honest truth about what she and her guests think about the world of blogging right now.

There was an episode recently about knowing whether or not to take a blog course and OMG you guys… it was fantastic. It was especially in my mind this weekend when I was going through the courses in the Genius Blogging Toolkit. That bundle was $97 and I’ve finished a couple of courses that made it totally worth the $97. This weekend, however, I took one of the ones that allegedly retails for $147. It hit several of the marks toward “don’t buy this course” that they discussed. It was about two years old (decades in blog years!) but hadn’t been updated; was full of information you could get for free anywhere; didn’t say it was a beginner course, but it absolutely was; each video was only about 5 minutes long; and outside of those videos, it had no new information, hand outs, guides or resources, except for an excel schedule on how they handled a certain part of their editorial calendar. It was basically just regurgitated information that you could find with a super simple google search. And people were paying nearly $150 for it?!

That Blog Fuel episode alone would have helped me make the determination that it was not the course for me. Because I already owned the course, I didn’t do much research into it. Afterward, I felt like I wasted an hour of my life (that’s how long it took for me to start and finish the course because nothing was new to me). There are other awesome episodes like myths that are going around, networking before blog conferences, and the truth bomb that: You are not Beyonce.

If you’re a new or experienced blogger, seriously check out the Blog Fuel Podcast.

Women Taking the Lead

site // subscribe with iTunes

The Women Taking the Lead Podcast with Jodi Flynn is very new to me. She was a Podcast Guest on Her Money Matters and I found her methods to beat FOMO super inspiring. I subscribed to her podcast right away. I’m so new to it that I don’t have any favorite episodes yet, but I’m sure I will!

If you’re into inspiring stories about women conquering life as a single gal, married woman, mom, business owner, side hustler or just all around extraordinary human, check out her podcast. You won’t be disappointed!

Do you subscribe to any of these podcasts already? Do you have any suggested alternatives for me to check out?!

5 Podcasts I think You will Love - Perfect for bloggers, debt repayment and making your commute and run go by faster!

Law School Student Loan Payoff Progress Report: Month 6: -118,382

Debt Repayment

Tackling law school student loans, one month at a time. Month 6 Progress Report!

Month 6: -$118,382.

It’s Valentine’s Day, which I think is a made-up holiday (yes, I know it is based on an actual Saint, but the expectation of how to celebrate is made up). But, in honor of it nonetheless, today’s photos are Valentine’s Day theme colors, taken by Rekita Nicole. There’s no reason loan payoff needs to be serious and drab, right?

This is the second month where we skipped an integer entirely. We went from 120 to 118! This was due to an unexpected and large sum of “extra” money, so I expect that next month will be normal and somewhere in the 117 range.

I hope you guys like this new format. I simplified the details so that it will be easier for you to follow along with and will save people who have read prior reports from scrolling through repetitive information. Thankfully, some awesome friends helped give me feedback on how to make it easier from a reader’s perspective. Yay! If you want more detailed information, check out November’s payoff report.

Remember, calling this “Month 6” is a misnomer. This is year 5 & Month 6 of payoff. And guess what? For the first 5 years of my student loan payoff I paid NONE of the principal balance on the Subsidized and Unsubsidized student loans, which makes up almost all of that balance. The remainder is my private bar exam loan.

The great news is that now that I’m credit card and car debt free, I can take this debt by the horns and show it who’s boss!

Tackling law school student loans, one month at a time. Month 6 Progress Report!

Extra Income This Month

Amazon Affiliate: $0.00

SiteGround Affiliate: $50.00

Day Designer Affiliate: $18.60

Instagram: $00.00

Sponsored Posts: $250.00

Side Hustles: None. I took the Winter off from Bar Exam grading. I’m hoping that I can come back up for air, catch up personally and at work, and go back to grading this summer.

Expected/Unexpected Reimbursements: Escrow Refund, $1,346.00

Where My Payments Went

In previous posts I put in parentheses when something was a snowball payment. One of my friends who is also a lawyer, pointed out that people may not know what “snowball” means. That did not even occur to me because I have been using the snowball method for two years now. I am changing the designations from snowball payments to where they came from in my budget so that it’s more clear.

I refinanced my house last year. As a result, I got a refund of the escrow account funds. An escrow account is where your money is saved to pay things like insurance, property taxes, etc. When I closed on my refinanced loan, I funded that escrow account. My mortgage officer told me I could do whatever I wanted with the refund from the original loan. I expected it to be only a couple hundred dollars and planned to put it toward my mortgage. Then, Wells Fargo increased my interest rate on my bar exam loan, and I realized it didn’t make sense to put that money toward my mortgage when I had a loan with a 7.75% interest rate. So I took almost all of it and made an immediate payment toward the bar loan. It felt AWESOME.

Bar Exam Loan: $1,300 (Escrow Refund) + $400 (Paycheck #2) + $530 (Paycheck #1) = $2,230.00

Unsubsidized Loan: $236.00 (minimum) = $236

Subsidized Loan: $604.58 (minimum) = $604.58

Extra Blogging Expenses: $119.00 (Tailwind) + $42 (Instagram Giveaway) + $70 (Sponsored Post Supplies)

Discover Card at 0% Interest from Bathroom Remodel: $200.00

Total Payments: $3,501.58

Tackling law school student loans, one month at a time. Month 6 Progress Report!

Current Law School Student Loans Balances

I can’t even tell you guys how fun it is to update these charts. I even go into Numbers in between updates here to plug new numbers in and see what happens. Paying off six figures of student loan debt feels like a bottomless pit. But seeing the progress in a graph and chart form helps to see that there really is progress.

Tackling law school student loans, one month at a time. Month 6 Progress Report!

The interest rates on these loans are what make my payments look almost meaningless on the subsidized and unsubsidized loans.

Bar Exam Student Loan: 7.75% Interest – Went up .25% in December

Subsidized Student Loan: 7.125% Interest, Accruing $5.71 Per Day

Unsubsidized Student Loan: 7.125% Interest, Accruing $14.63 Per Day

I received an e-mail from Wells Fargo last month claiming that my Bar Exam Loan is a variable interest rate loan. I was furious because I did not think I would have intentionally accepted a variable interest rate loan. Sure enough, in the fine print of my document, it says variable. I’m working to pay this stupid loan off as soon as possible now. By the way, if I had a variable interest rate loan, there is NO reason why the lowest rate I’ve paid over the last 6 years is 7.5%. The economy sucked for years with no reduction in my rate, and now it’s finally good and they didn’t hesitate to up it. I’m very reminded why I left Wells Fargo as a checking account customer many, many years ago.

Tackling law school student loans, one month at a time. Month 6 Progress Report! Stacked Column Graph

What is a Bar Exam Loan?

The bar exam loan was to pay for the cost of BarBri, the only bar exam preparation course in Nevada in 2010 (roughly $4,000), the video iPod I had to buy to take my classes remotely because I took a clerkship in the middle of nowhere and back then there wasn’t reliable online streaming (roughly $200 I think?), the cost of applying for the bar exam (roughly $1,000), the cost of moving to a different state in the middle of nowhere (roughly $1,000), my apartment deposit and first month’s rent (roughly $1,200), oh and my two best law school friends got married during bar prep/the week after the bar exam and I flew to both their weddings/stayed in hotels/etc (roughly $800 – totally worth it), and then the cost of living for 2.5 months while I studied for the exam.

I worked part time while I took the bar exam. I don’t recommend this, but remember, the economy sucked and I had to take the job I was offered. That job required me to start three days after graduation. At the end of the exam period, I had a little bit of money left over, and I used it to pay a super high interest rate credit card I’d gotten to buy furniture in my 1L year.

Tackling law school student loans, one month at a time. Month 6 Progress Report! Chart

I am so close to paying this loan off, I can taste it!!! I can’t wait to have a zero dollar balance on that account. Then, my only debt will be the federal loans and my house. Gah! So exciting! It has been several years of hard work and dedication, but it was worth it. I’ve never had to deal with weight issues, but I’m kind of wondering if this is what those graphics on Pinterest mean when they say, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” Nothing I’ve purchased brings joy like paying off debt and tasting freedom!

My Debt Repayment Goals

1) Pay off my car.

2) Pay off my credit cards.

3) Pay off the Bar Exam Student Loan.

I’m sticking with the snowball method, to pay off my loans.

4) Re-evaluate my savings and retirement plan.

I already had a phone call with my financial planner about my plans and have started doing the math on how to increase my retirement contributions without harming my ability to live my life now and still pay off debt.

5) Tackle the accrued interest from my income based repayment plan.

Because I have been on an income based repayment plan, without making a ton of income, my monthly payments did not cover all of the interest on my student loans. I cannot make principal payments on the loans until I pay the accrued interest. The balance of the accrued interest is incorporated in the balances you see above. Once I start tackling this goal, I’ll list out the accrued interest separately.

6) Attack those Federal Student Loans!!

I’m coming for you, law school student loans!

Thanks for coming alongside me during this journey. I’ve loved hearing your stories too. You can leave it in the comments, or tell me about it on Facebook or Twitter!

Tackling law school student loans, one month at a time. Month 6 Progress Report!

Common Questions:

I’ve written a few posts about finances and being a lawyer already. Here are the links if you’re interested:

Springtime Gifts to Spoil Your Cat

How-To, Sponsored

This post was sponsored by Tender & True Pet Food. All opinions are mine (and the cats’) and are not impacted by the compensation received.
Spoil Your Cat with Springtime Presents, including high quality, Tender & True Pet Nutrition Cat Food! easter cat present, valentines day cat present, mothers day cat present

I can’t believe it’s already February, can you?! While January has been an exhausting month, it seemed to fly by. As a result, I’m just now starting to look ahead at birthdays, holidays and other big events on my calendar.

One thing I like to do is treat Doug and Earl to a special surprise during holidays. Last year, they got Easter Baskets, two years ago they had special Halloween Costumes, and this year for Valentine’s Day, I’m making them personalized food bowls!

Spring cleaning doesn’t just have to mean dusting your window sills and organizing your paperwork. It can be a great time to give your pet station a quick refresh. Doug and Earl have shared a food bowl since we brought them home as kittens. It’s big enough and has a separator in the middle of it. As far as I can tell, they don’t mind it at all. But recently I was loading laundry (the room where their food bowl is), and thought it might be time for them to get their own, grown-up cat, food bowls! To make it even more special, I’m including a couple small items and, of course, a great quality food to go inside of them!

This would be a great treat for your pet on Valentine’s Day or any springtime holiday, like Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, Earth Day, Cinco de Mayo, or even to incorporate into your Mother’s Day present if your mom has started doting on a pet since you left the house.

1. Go Shopping for Supplies

Spoil Your Cat with Springtime Presents, including high quality, Tender & True Pet Nutrition Cat Food!

A good cat dish is pretty easy to find. If you’re making a dish for a dog, you may need rubber on the bottom to keep the bowl from sliding around. However, for a cat, any shallow, food-safe dish will work!

I found these dishes and they seemed like the perfect way to class up Doug and Earl’s eating station. Make sure that if there’s a retailer’s sticker on the bottom, that you get that off and wash the dish before you start the rest of this project.

The rest of the supplies you’ll need are stickers for the outlines of the letters, paint based markers, a slightly damp paper towel, a Q-Tip to get the adhesive off once you remove the stickers, and some coffee. (Coffee is not required.) I prefer the look of three colors, but two would work as well.

2. Add the Stickers to Spell Your Pet’s Name, Initials or Another Saying

Spoil Your Cat with Springtime Presents, including high quality, Tender & True Pet Nutrition Cat Food!

You may be better at adding stickers in a straight line than I am. I considered getting out a ruler and marking straight lines but then I decided I liked the idea of it being a little more whimsical.

You can also just do a single sticker or two of your pet’s initials, or a phrase like “MEOW” or “WOOF.”

3. Begin Adding dots of each color

Spoil Your Cat with Springtime Presents, including high quality, Tender & True Pet Nutrition Cat Food!

Because the stickers are protecting the letters underneath, you can just go willy-nilly with the paint pens. Simply tap the tip of the paint pen onto the bowl over and over! you’ll want to fill the spaces by the letters the most, and then the dots can get progressively spaced out after that. This way, the letters will really stand out after you take the stickers off. Don’t leave any white space at all in the spaces in between and next to the letters.

Frankly, I’m a little nervous. These stickers were REALLY adhering to the bowl (it took me several tries to get DOUG to fit onto the bowl), so hopefully it’s not too hard to peel them off. If there’s a problem, a damp Q-Tip and some muscle will get the adhesive off.

If you have any spots that smear, your hand slips and you draw a line instead, or the pen leaks (see the green mark on the D), simply use a very damp paper towel to wipe it off.

Don’t worry about dots ending up on top of each other. The paint will not mix together or ruin your other marker.

You’ll want the paint to dry before you take any additional steps. You can let it dry for a couple of hours, or overnight to be safe. During this time, you can start getting together what you need for the gift bowls!

4. Grab a bag or a can of Tender & True Pet Nutrition Food

Good quality food is so important for our pets. If your pets are anything like Doug and Earl, they’re a little picky about their food. These two have staged hunger strikes in the past when their favorite food has been replaced with a generic brand.

Spoil Your Cat with Springtime Presents, including high quality, Tender & True Pet Nutrition Cat Food!

Luckily, Tender & True Pet Food reached out to give Doug and Earl a try of their organic and nutritious food options! An early Valentine’s Day present seemed like the perfect opportunity for them to give the new food a try!

5. Pick out a Couple of other Toys as Special Treat for your Pet

I found some Valentine’s Day themed mice, this box with the balls trapped inside and a few other toys to include in Doug and Earl’s early Valentine’s Day present. If you’re handy with a sewing machine, you could probably sew your own toys as well.

Spoil Your Cat with Springtime Presents, including high quality, Tender & True Pet Nutrition Cat Food! easter cat present, valentines day cat present, mothers day cat present

Doug has been the subject of my DSLR class practices, so he’s a bit more comfortable in front of the camera. Earl was a little shy. It’s funny, because Earl loves human attention way more than Doug. Isn’t it fun how different our pets’ personalities are??

6. Bake the Bowls

Place the bowls in a cold oven, and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. This will set the paint and keep it from washing off. Leave the bowls in the oven to cool. It’s important to put the bowls in the oven before it has preheated, otherwise you could end up with a dangerous cracked bowl situation!

7. Set up the Special Springtime Present for your Cat!

To set up the presents, I filled the bowls with tissue paper, the organic and healthy canned food, and the toys. I also got them a cute toy that’s a fishing line on a stick (see above).

Spoil Your Cat with Springtime Presents, including high quality, Tender & True Pet Nutrition Cat Food! easter cat present, valentines day cat present, mothers day cat present

Spoil Your Cat with Springtime Presents, including high quality, Tender & True Pet Nutrition Cat Food! easter cat present, valentines day cat present, mothers day cat present

Aren’t those little Valentine’s Day mice adorable? I can’t get enough of them! And their full of cat nip, so I bet Doug and Earl won’t be able to get enough of them either.

The Importance of Feeding Your Cat Great Quality Food

One of my favorite ways to treat the beloved humans in my life is food. For special occasions, or sometimes just for a date night, J and I make a nice steak with potatoes or veggies and garlic bread. Why should this be any different for my pets? Good quality food makes everyone healthier and happier!

Spoil Your Cat with Springtime Presents, including high quality, Tender & True Pet Nutrition Cat Food! easter cat present, valentines day cat present, mothers day cat present Spoil Your Cat with Springtime Presents, including high quality, Tender & True Pet Nutrition Cat Food! easter cat present, valentines day cat present, mothers day cat present Spoil Your Cat with Springtime Presents, including high quality, Tender & True Pet Nutrition Cat Food! easter cat present, valentines day cat present, mothers day cat present Spoil Your Cat with Springtime Presents, including high quality, Tender & True Pet Nutrition Cat Food! easter cat present, valentines day cat present, mothers day cat present

Tender & True is great because the cats LOVE it. I couldn’t even set up their bowls in a more photo friendly part of the room. I put the food in, and they were right on top of it. They boys are used to sharing a bowl, so I’ve never seen them nudge each other out of the way before! They especially loved the wet food. They were even trying to eat it out of the can when there wasn’t enough room to share!

Once they got over the special event of wet food, they were also happy to chow down on the dry food.

Spoil Your Cat with Springtime Presents, including high quality, Tender & True Pet Nutrition Cat Food! easter cat present, valentines day cat present, mothers day cat present Spoil Your Cat with Springtime Presents, including high quality, Tender & True Pet Nutrition Cat Food! easter cat present, valentines day cat present, mothers day cat present Spoil Your Cat with Springtime Presents, including high quality, Tender & True Pet Nutrition Cat Food! easter cat present, valentines day cat present, mothers day cat present

The boys apparently can’t read yet, because they went between each other’s bowls without concern. But that’s OK. I’m just happy that they are devouring Tender & True cat food!! This food is amazing quality and it gives me great comfort knowing that they’re eating food that’s made of high quality ingredients, chosen by Tender & True itself.

None of their cat foods have corn, wheat or soy, and none have artificial preservatives, colors or flavors. Many are also free of added hormones. They’re also made in the USA. This is super important to me and I try to buy most of the products I use in my own life that are made in the USA, even if they’re more expensive. There’s no reason that value shouldn’t continue to the cats’ lives as well!

If organic, sustainably fished, antibiotic free, and cage-free food products are important to you, then you’ll love the mission of Tender & True.

Spoil Your Cat with Springtime Presents, including high quality, Tender & True Pet Nutrition Cat Food! easter cat present, valentines day cat present, mothers day cat present

Look, they got the bowl order right this time!

I’m happy. J’s happy. Doug and Earl are happy. You can’t ask for a better night than that!

You can also see how Doug’s bowl had more blue paint-pen, while Earl’s bowl had more green. It’s amazing the personalization that you can do using this craft! I am positive your pet will love it for whatever holiday you decide to freshen up his or her pet food station!

Don’t forget to pick up a bag of Tender & True for your cat (or even your dog) to include in your special springtime pet gift!

You can find Tender & True Pet Food all over the web:

Site // Facebook // Twitter //Instagram // Pinterest // Buy Online // Buy In Store

Spoil Your Cat with Springtime Presents, including high quality, Tender & True Pet Nutrition Cat Food! easter cat present, valentines day cat present, mothers day cat present

Supplies:

  • Ceramic Bowls
  • Paint Based Sharpies in your Desired Colors
  • Stickers
  • A damp paper towel
  • A damp Q-Tip
  • A Good Quality Food like Tender & True Pet Nutrition
  • A Baking Tray
  • A Toy or Two (or 5… I’m a sucker)
  • Tissue Paper
  • Your camera – to catch those adorable pet moments when they first play with a new toy and try a new, delicious food!

5 Tips for Running As the Seasons Change

Fitness, Sponsored

This post is sponsored by Fabletics. All content and opinions are honest and my own. Sponsorships help keep WMSB running, no pun intended.

5 Tips for Running Outside as the Seasons Change

original photo by https://unsplash.com/@kalenemsley

As I write this, the entire Seattle area is on an unexpected snow day. Last week, the weather teased us (and destroyed my sinuses) by having four days straight of really dry weather. Then, suddenly, it started to snow on Sunday. With the big game on, we didn’t mind, and figured it would let up. But as far as we could tell it kept on snowing until about 9:00 AM!

I looked out the window to find a winter wonderland of about 8 inches of snow, and a house with no power. I couldn’t believe it! I had intended to make some changes to my workout routine in order to account from the winter to spring transition, but I didn’t realize the changes would be so drastic from week to week!

Each season, the strategies for working out change. It’s really easy to run outside when the sun is shining, but not too hot, and the flowers are blooming. It’s harder to run outside when it starts to rain, everything is muddy, and it’s chilly. But if you’re anything like me, it’s imperative to keep your workout habit going or else you’ll stop exercising completely. I wanted to share with you 5 tips for running as the seasons change.

Tip #1: Wear Layers

As the weather changes, you’ll need a variety of articles of clothing. It is important to have multiple clothing options. A great way to build your work out wardrobe is Fabletics. Fabletics is Kate Hudson’s company. You may have heard about it as an option for subscribing to workout clothes. I was looking through my gym bag for a pair of long pants one cold morning, and realized all of my work out pants were capris. Luckily, my cousin bought me a rain-proof, wind breaking jacket for Christmas and that helped.

A photo posted by Brittany (@brittany_wmsb) on


But as you can imagine, my legs and the tops of my ankles were NOT happy with me after that run. Not only that, I ran for a shorter period of time because I was uncomfortable. By expanding your wardrobe in an affordable manner, like joining Fabletics, you won’t be as likely to find yourself in the situation where all of your workout clothes are the same. As long as your layers are light, you can shed them as your body warms up and adjusts. Just tie your long sleeve top around your waist like junior high in 1999 and you’re good to keep running!  (Remember, if you’re running a race in layers, put your bib on your shirt underneath so that you don’t have to take the time to transfer it when you remove layers. Many races require your bib to be on the front of your shirt, not the back.)

Tip #2: Moisturize Your Skin

I don’t know about you, but my skin is SUPER sensitive to changes in weather. As soon as it starts to get cold and dry outside, my skin  starts to protest. My legs get dry and ashy. The skin in between my fingers and on my wrist starts to protest. And my face… my face starts to hate me. I swear I can live away from the desert for the rest of my life, and my body will still protest the cold. The strange thing is, up in the PNW, the summer is great for my skin, as opposed to the desert where everything dries out. It’s the cold here that ends up frizzing my hair and drying me out.

Before you go on a run you should always put on sun block. You may not be tanning, but the sun doesn’t care about that, it’s hitting your skin anyway. Find a great sunblock/moisturizer for your body and face and season. In the summer, a light sun block is perfect because any thick moisturizer just adds to the feeling of slimy sweat on my legs and arms, and I HATE that. But in the winter, my body soaks up every thing it can, and a thicker moisturizer and sun block is the best option for me.

It’s likely you’ll need two different products during every season to avoid breakouts on your face, but it will be worth it. Don’t forget, when you’re wearing all of those layers on your runs in the cold, your face is totally exposed, so don’t skimp on that. Your skin deserves to be protected. Don’t forget to lather on the right product before you leave the house!

Tip #3: Listen to an Upbeat Playlist, Podcast or Audiobook

Sometimes I listen to more summer-music in the winter than I do while we’re cruising on the boat during the summer! As you can probably tell, I’m not a cold-weather girl. So to trick myself into believing summer isn’t that far away, you can find my workout and office playlists full of country music songs about boats and summer loves, and pop/top 40 songs about dancing the night away.

There are also other options, like beachy romance audiobooks or fun and upbeat podcasts that can take your mind off of the cold weather that’s teasing you with ALMOST being spring, and then ALMOST being summer. As the weather cools down again, these different listening tricks help me transition into fall with a better attitude, and then make late-in-the-year 5k runs feel less terrible. I envision myself running on a beach with the mist of the waves instead of running through a forest of trees, being hit by rain drops or puddles of water that finally fall down from the leaves.

5 Tips for Running Outside as the Seasons Change

Tip #4: Ease Your Body Into It

Be kind to yourself and expect that there will be an acclimation period for your lungs and muscles to get used to changes in weather. This might mean that you run for a shorter distance, or you finish your longer distance at a slower pace. You might need to stray from your favorite neighborhood “course.”  It can be demoralizing to feel like your workout has a set back, but remember, our bodies are adjusting to drastic changes in humidity, temperature, wind and pavement conditions.

You may even need to workout inside for a little bit. That’s OK.

A photo posted by Brittany (@brittany_wmsb) on

I used to only run inside, but once I started running outside, I found it to be terribly boring to get on a treadmill. As your body gets used to the change in weather, be kind to it and find some interior group exercise classes or a place to hop on a treadmill and keep going. It will be time to run outside again before you know it!

 

Tip #5: Bring the Right Accessories

My good friend Karlee is a total inspiration to me when it comes to running outside. Rain, snow or sunshine, she’s out there pounding the pavement. I asked her if she had any tips, and she shared her experience with Tip #4, and having to run inside or shorter distances while her lungs adjust to changes in humidity. She also pointed out that accessories are key.

Gloves, ear muffs, and sun glasses are going to be essential as the weather cools down in the fall, gets cold in the winter and starts to slowly, and randomly, warm back up in the spring. Until our snow day, I almost forgot how bright snow was! Even in the winter, you may need a good pair of sun glasses.

You can order accessories on Fabletics as well! They have headbands, socks, underwear (a good pair of workout friendly underwear is clutch in running and yoga!), and gym bags to meet your needs. I’m really budget conscious these days, because my focus is on tacking those student loans. But that doesn’t mean I will skimp on the things I need to take care of my body while trying to live a healthy lifestyle. You shouldn’t either. Check out the awesome story behind Fabletics and decide if it’s the right way for you to transition your workout wardrobe during the next six weeks of winter. Thanks a lot, Punxsutawney Phil.

Do you love to work out outside? Have you ever tried Fabletics? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

How to Create a Combined Miracle Morning and Prayer Binder

Goals, How-To, Jesus

Affiliate links are used in this post. This means that if you purchase an item using some of these links, I will receive a small commission and there will not be any additional cost to you. Your support helps keep WMSB running and helps me make a dent in my student loans! Thank  you!

In late 2014 I listened to one of my favorite podcasts, Listen Money Matters, and they interviewed Hal Elrod. I had never heard of him and as I drove back to work after a meeting in Seattle, I had goosebumps in the freeway. After their interview, I bought his book, The Miracle Morning.

Creating a Prayer Binder that Includes The Miracle Morning SAVERS for the ultimate kick start to your day!

I have never been a morning person. Even as a small child, my parents would wake me up and I’d fall back to sleep in the hallway in front of our heater. But when I started the book in January 2015, I bought the WhisperSync version, so I could listen to it in my car, and then read it on my Kindle app when I got home. It was so good that it inspired me to start waking up earlier.

Before 2015, my morning routine looked like this: Set alarm for 7:30. Hit snooze until 7:45. Pour cup of coffee. Rush to put on makeup. Rush to get dressed. Rush to brush hair. Rush to put coffee into to-go cup. Rush to work. Sit in traffic. Arrive either exactly on time, or 1-2 minutes late. (OK, OK, when I was in private practice, arrive 15-30 minutes later than I told myself I would, but I wasn’t technically “late.”) Hurry through the day. Get distracted. Feel unmotivated. Eat cookies or sweets. Go home. Put on PJs. Take a nap or watch mindless TV. Think about blogging or reading my bible, keep watching TV. Go to bed. Do it all over again.

Since the book, my morning routine has changed drastically. Almost every post that you read here (including this one), is written early in the morning, after my coffee is poured, but before I have changed out of my PJs or gotten ready for work. I now have time to do my quiet time and prayer, while also a few other healthy habits I learned from the book. When I first started the process, I followed the six SAVERS just as they are described.

The idea is that each of the SAVERS will take 10 minutes, making for a 1-hour long morning routine. By having everything in one binder, you keep the breaks and distractions in between to a minimum!

Sometimes I spent more time on one SAVER (it was always hard to stop the Reading portion), but I never skipped them. I felt GREAT! Not only did I feel great, but I also got to work feeling motivated, able to focus, and aside from my 2:30-3:30 slump I’ve always felt, I was more productive and energetic than ever before. I had my goals in the forefront of my mind all the time, and in the last two years, I paid off my car, $11,000 + interest in credit card debt, made more money on this blog than ever before. I also stayed on a consistent workout routine, and felt healthier and happier.

In mid-2015 I stopped doing all 6 SAVERS and readjusted according to my priorities to only focus on the ones that I felt were really impacting my day.

Things haven’t been perfect. I had some sudden bouts with anxiety that started this summer and lasted for several months. The general anxiety feeling has mostly subsided but still hits me sometimes. I have also gone back to hitting snooze every day. I want to get back into that place of good habits and starting the day off properly.

I started 2017 with the flu, and none of my New Year’s Resolutions got off to the right start. I’m declaring February 1 my new opportunity for a fresh start. So I’m recommitting to the SAVERS and created a binder that combines my quiet time/prayer binder that I told you guys about in the past, and the SAVERS, all in one place.

I’m sharing it with you today to give you the opportunity to create your own, or even just to give yourself permission to make February your new start date for the things you want to accomplish.

Step One: Find a Binder

First, pick out a binder you like. I prefer white binders with the clear cover holder. You can decorate any piece of paper and personalize the cover, or you can just keep it looking crisp and clean. I haven’t decorated mine yet.

Step Two: Print Out Any Resources You Want to Use

Print out anything you need to create your binder. If you are doing the Miracle Morning, his PDF guide is available online. I printed that in full, even though I’d already gone through it in 2015. The guide takes you through some questions, and also includes sample affirmations and other resources.

Creating a Prayer Binder that Includes The Miracle Morning SAVERS for the ultimate kick start to your day!

Step Three: Develop your Desired Binder Dividers

Decide on your tabs. I would suggest deciding on them before you start labeling them. You might decide that you wish things were in different orders, or named something different. I had to buy the write-on tabs because my store didn’t have white dividers where you could change out the papers inside of the dividers, so it was very important to be sure about how I wanted it to flow.

Creating a Prayer Binder that Includes The Miracle Morning SAVERS for the ultimate kick start to your day!

The tabs I chose were:

  1. Prayer List
  2. Reading List
  3. Exercise Ideas
  4. Visualizations
  5. Affirmations
  6. Journaling
  7. Bible Verses

The Miracle Morning outlines six SAVERS for your morning routine. The book outlines the importance of each one and I’d strongly suggest reading it so that you can get the full picture. The SAVERS stand for: Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Scribing, Exercise, and Reading. You can get a six minute guide to the entire process here, until you can get your hands on the book.

Creating a Prayer Binder that Includes The Miracle Morning SAVERS for the ultimate kick start to your day!

Step Four: Hole Punch & Add Your Resources to the Binder

Put your supplies into the binder, under the tabs you want.

You can create a prayer list on your own, or you can print out the Prayer List Printables I created. I made them available for free, not even an e-mail address is required for you to download and make use of them!

Otherwise, I use this format as well: a column for the date, the prayer need, and the answer. Sometimes it’s really easy to lose track of all of our answered prayers, but giving God praise is a huge step of faith. This list will help you remember all that God has done (and yes, a “no” from God is still worth praise).

Creating a Prayer Binder that Includes The Miracle Morning SAVERS for the ultimate kick start to your day!

I also sorted out the documents from the Miracle Morning PDF and ordered them appropriately for the tabs, such as the affirmations under the affirmation tab and the journaling pages under the journal tab.

Step Five: Add Loose Leaf Paper & Create Outlines

Label the papers accordingly. I added loose leaf paper to several sections, including the affirmations, reading list, and of course, a ton of paper to the journaling tab.

Creating a Prayer Binder that Includes The Miracle Morning SAVERS for the ultimate kick start to your day!

One of the Miracle Morning SAVERS is Reading. I made a reading list for the books to read during my morning Prayer/SAVERS time. I labeled all of the loose leaf papers under the appropriate tabs so that on my first morning, February 1, I am ready to go!

Step Six: Personalize Your Binder

Add any decoration or personalization you’d like. Under the visualization tab, that can be photos of places you’d like to go, accomplishments you’d like to achieve, or any other visual that motivates you and helps you picture the future you want to have. I have a pinterest board that I use as an electronic vision board. (Hint: It’s mostly related to travel.)

Under the prayer section, you can add photos of family, friends or others that you are praying for. Under exercise, you can add printables you’ve found of exercise plans you are interested in trying.  This is your binder and your morning! After I make mine truly my own, I’ll update you on the personalization I’ve done!

Supplies:

Binder

Dividers

Loose Leaf Paper

A Printer (I own this one) or order your documents to be printed somewhere like Office Max

3-Hole Punch

Pen(s) (These are my favorite)

I’d love to hear about your experience having a morning quiet time or prayer time, or having your own Miracle Morning! Tell me about it in the comments!

Diary of a First-Time Homeowner: $1,000 Main Bathroom Remodel

Diary of a First Time Home Owner

inexpensive DIY Bathroom Remodel that costs $1,000

The main bathroom in my house was not updated by the sellers. They updated the living room/dining room and kitchen. The cabinets in the kitchen were refinished, and a gorgeous backsplash was added. But the main bathroom still had an un-refinished vanity, and similarly outdated features. The mirror was one of those flat mirrors with no frame and it was even peeling off in certain places on the bottom and top. The flooring was terrible yellow laminate and the wall color was kind of drab.

Bathroom Before inexpensive DIY Remodel that costs $1,000

I have wanted to update this bathroom, but kept losing the motivation. Then my mortgage loan officer (and friend) and I had a couple of conversations about refinancing to get out of my mortgage insurance (commonly known as PMI or MIP, depending on your type of loan). In order to do so, I had to have 20% equity in my home. This was the perfect time to update or remodel the bathroom!

Bathroom Before inexpensive DIY Remodel that costs $1,000

When I first bought the house, I replaced that terrible flooring in the kitchen and full/half bathrooms (you can see the full terrible-ness of the original main bathroom on that post). I also replaced the toilets in the main and half baths after my contractor told me how cheap they were, and it would be super easy since the old ones were already pulled out to replace the flooring. The realization that I could have clean, new toilets was enough to stand in the aisle of Home Depot for 40 minutes, trying to figure out what the heck the difference was between all of them.

Bathroom organization Before inexpensive DIY Remodel that costs $1,000

But everything else remained the same, including the vanity with the blue counter top and no storage options.

The Vanity

I had a vanity in mind for a few months, but when it finally came time to start the process, it was unavailable. NOOOO!

I e-mailed Home Depot and asked why, and they told me it was being discontinued, but sometimes those items pop back up online when the stores return them. The Lancaster vanity was for sell in my local store, but only with the “maui” colored top and I wanted the white top. Luckily, one Sunday morning I was trying to find a replacement for my dream vanity, and it popped up as in stock again! Yay! $307 later, my order was placed!

Bathroom Components for inexpensive DIY Remodel that costs $1,000  Not only did I think the white was glamorous looking, it matched the vanity I put in the 1/2 bathroom when I first moved in. I also needed a new faucet and found this one that has a swiveling head for under $38! I was so stoked. I had never even considered a bathroom faucet that could move like a kitchen one. I also liked that it went up so high, because it felt like a hotel or fancy restaurant bathroom.

The Backsplash

My intention was only to buy a new vanity and faucet. But… you give a mouse a cookie… I am still learning this homeownership thing, and didn’t consider that my new vanity would be a different height than the old one. The backsplash was not sitting at the right place, plus I always thought it was super boring. Who puts a plain white tile backsplash on white walls? Don’t do that. It’s boring, and just makes the walls look icky and drab because the tile is so bright and shiny.

Bathroom In the Middle of inexpensive DIY Remodel that costs $1,000

I went to the store during my lunch break one day, and picked out some sample tiles. Then I took a poll of my co-workers. In the end, Crystal Ice ($19/square foot) won and I was so glad because I was swooning over it from the moment I picked it up off of the shelf!

The Mirror

As I updated Facebook on the changes in my bathroom, several people commented on how terrible the mirror was. I did not plan to replace the mirror. But the more I looked at it, the more I saw that it really WAS terrible! One day, while watching HGTV, I remembered the mirror I had bought for my bedroom that was still propped up on the floor. I brought it downstairs and stood in the bathroom for a couple of minutes before it was decided. This bedroom mirror was now a bathroom mirror! I was especially excited because I figured it would be $100-200 for a new mirror for the bathroom, but I found this one on sale from Fred Meyer for only $25 a few weeks prior!

Bathroom in the Middle of inexpensive DIY Remodel that costs $1,000

A few days later, my contractor came back and started work on the backsplash. I spent about $120 after taxes on the backsplash. Then it didn’t mold right with the mortar, so we had to start over and I spent another $120 on the backsplash. He wasn’t going to charge me for the second round, but he is a friend of ours and does such amazing work, I actually didn’t mind, and forced him to take my money. The only bummer is that I don’t save my Home Depot receipts because they get e-mailed to my account, and I used a different card for the backsplash purchases, which wasn’t linked to my e-mail yet. So I can’t deduct that sales tax on my taxes.

The Paint

Before we knew the first backsplash wasn’t setting right, I went and picked out a variety of paint colors, and painted large swatches on the wall. I settled on Light Pelican Grey. Just so you guys know, there are like 8,000 versions of grey paint. Why isn’t there just GREY? I was so scared because after my first coat of Light Pelican Grey, it was PURPLE!

I had to go back to the store to get more paint because I thought a quart would be enough for a bathroom (it wasn’t). I didn’t really want to start over so I figured I’d try it and see how it looked after a couple of coats.  Once it was all finished, it looks mostly grey. In the areas where the light doesn’t hit very well, it had a bit of a purple undertone, but it’s not bad.

By the way, I hate taping before painting. It seems like a huge waste of time. But I’m also not good at staying between the lines when using colored pencils, let alone tape. So I use SHURE edgers to paint the corners. I swear by them. You can buy them at Home Depot for less than $5, and the refills are like $2-3. You can also (affiliate link) order them on amazon. They will change your painting life, and I’m not exaggerating.

To entertain myself through the re-organization process, I watched Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. The above photo was in the middle of the backsplash installation. You have to let it set overnight before you can move onto the next step.

While I waited for the Light Pelican Grey to finally dry and tell me if it was grey or purple, I painted the trim and the door to the medicine cabinet “Whisper White.”

You can sort of see how it’s grey paint, but above the shower, it looks purple-ish. (I spent about $40 on paint).

Bathroom After inexpensive DIY Remodel that costs $1,000

The Random Accessories I Didn’t Consider

When I was at Home Depot for like the 8th time in this process, which I know is not weird because I run into people I know there ALL THE TIME now, I also bought a toilet paper holder thing, and a new shower rod. After the new vanity was installed, the backsplash was finished and the mirror was hung, I just couldn’t stand the white shower rod. I got a toilet paper holder ($21) that matched my other fixtures, and upgraded to a curved shower rod ($33). I love those. They make showers feel so luxurious just by adding a couple of extra inches of elbow room!

 

Bathroom After inexpensive DIY Remodel that costs $1,000

The Finished Product!

By then, the bathroom was finished! I was so pleased with how everything looked! By doing half of it myself, and getting help for the heavy/tedious parts (my contractor also helped me hang the mirror so it would be even), I saved a ton of money! My contractor is a friend and gives me a great rate. I had set aside a certain about of money (about $1,000) for this project. I gave him the remaining cash for his time and effort, and a little bit of supplies he bought because I didn’t know what they were.

Before and After of a Main Bathroom Remodel Completed for $1,000

Now, I have a gorgeous bathroom that makes me feel like I live in a hotel, and my home appraised for more money than I invested, which helped me refinance out of my PMI! Yay! Before and After of a Main Bathroom Remodel Completed for $1,000

Flying Through the Fear

Adventures, Anxiety, Goals

Flying through the fear: Sunshine over Southern CA in an airplane

I am not a good friend to myself when it comes to flying, and really should take my anxiety medicine before I board planes. Alas, I’m too stubborn to admit I need it. So I took half of a pill when we were already buckled into our seats in Seattle on Friday when I couldn’t relax before takeoff and our flight was stalled for 10 minutes until we could get “de-iced.” I looked at J and asked, “What if I don’t want to go?” And he reminded me it was OK to take the Xanax.

Flying Through the Fear: distract yourself on the flight

I spent part of that flight, working through the power sheets I couldn’t finish because of the flu.

On the morning we left San Diego, I woke up worried about feeling anxious on the flight home, and that worry followed me most of the day. The worry about the anxiety really is one of the hardest parts about getting anxiety. Even then, I didn’t take it leaving San Diego yesterday afternoon. Instead I gave myself a lot of quiet pep talks, prayed for peace that surpasses all understanding, and reminded myself to breathe when I felt the signs of a panic attack coming on.

After they subsided, and the plane was in the air, I distracted myself with reading (affiliate links) America’s First Daughter and Real Simple Magazine. I told myself my only job was to finish my book so I could start The Choice, and trust myself to be calm, J to be a support, the pilot to get us to where we needed to go, and God, who has a good and perfect plan for our lives and gives us strength.

Flying with Virgin America is such a wonderful experience. Every single employee, from the check-in to the flight attendants were so accommodating to me when I told them I was a nervous flier (I’ve started saying this instead of saying I get anxious, in an effort speak more healthily over my life). The check-in agent in San Diego even moved mountains to get J and I a seat together on our nearly-full connecting flight in San Francisco. Plus, of course, J is great at distracting at me and always believing I’m way braver than I actually am.

When our flight landed in SFO and then in Seattle, I said, “I DID IT!” and he just looked and me and said, “of course you did” like it was no big deal at all, when in reality I had totally surprised myself. I had my first panic attack on a plane in 2010. I had no clue what it was. That went away around 2011 thanks to frequent flying and medication. After that, I had several years of easy flights and came to love flying again. But the anxiety came back suddenly and unexpectedly in 2015. My doctor believes it has more to do with what was going on in that time in my life (my great-grandma had just fallen so ill that we had to help her move into an assisted living home), but the attack happened on a plane and I’ve been really scared about every flight since. I’ve even avoided flying places because of it. But no more. I made a resolution to fly 10 times this year so I can become comfortable and confident once again.

Flying Through the Fear: I don't want to miss out on my feet in the Southern CA ocean, just because of a couple hours on an airplane

I don’t want to miss out on my feet in the Southern CA ocean, just because of a couple hours on an airplane

I’d highly recommend flying Virgin America when you can. And conquer your fears, the real ones and even the irrational ones that pop up for no reason and try to make their home in your life. It’s worth it. We had an amazing weekend with friends who are basically family, and the view of the sun over the ocean was 😍😍 leaving San Diego (the first photo in this post). It was totally worth the temporary discomfort of fear and doubting myself, and when I say temporary, I’m including the nerves on the days leading up to our flight, as well as the moments of actual fear on the plane. My word for 2017 is “Trust.” It helped a lot to remember it this weekend. I have nine more flights to go to satisfy my New Years resolution, and I’m hopeful that each one will get easier and easier.

Flying Through the Fear: airplane over the PNW

I also hope that I can start being kinder to myself. I would tell any friend who has diagnosed anxiety about anything, to take the prescribed medication if it can make it easier. I would encourage that friend to let the entire experience be easier, and build confidence through peace. I would remind them that they don’t have to be perfect and they don’t have to feel ashamed or stubborn when they need help with something. Why don’t I share that same kindness with myself? I don’t know. But perhaps 2017 is the year I find that out. 

I’m also accepting suggestions on where I should go next. I am starting with shorter flights from the Seattle airport. Do you have a favorite vacation spot? Tell me about it in the comments!