2019 October Goals – Accountability, Check in, and $$$

Zero-Waste

I’m going to table this goal for now as I haven’t made many changes in the last several months. I continue to reduce my waste and be more conscious of my purchases, my buying power, and footprint.


Fitness

October has been a cold month. Every year I forget how cold I get during fall/winter season. I still walk dogs every Monday – Thursday for 30 minutes/day and get quite a few steps in during the week in addition.

Here are my fitness stats for the month:

  1. Biking: 5 miles
  2. Pole classes: 5
  3. Thriller dress rehearsal: 1

Turkish language progress:

I now have 1,437 Anki cards. I’ve done 6,647 reviews. I have spent 6:46:56 reviewing with an average of 53 reviews per day. My grade is 71% C (same as last month). I have definitely been slacking on my daily reviews and will have to figure out a way to review them at the same time every day so I can make it a habit again. The good news is that I finished Unit 11 in my Rosetta Stone on time! Woot woot! I now have one unit left in my Rosetta Stone before I switch to using Memrise. Potentially I had this idea that I could have my partner (who is from Turkey and fluent in Turkish) only use simple Turkish in January or to speak in Turklish to me. He may not agree to this or remember to do it though…


My main goal for the year was to save as much money as possible! I’ve been tracking my spending and savings closely since November of 2018. Recently I’ve tried out a couple of budgeting methods/trackers and have found one that is similar to my spreadsheet style – Tiller. It links your banks and credit cards that push data to your budget tracking spreadsheet. You can input categories of spending and delete what you don’t want and add what you do want. My categories for bills include the following:

  1. Rent
  2. Phone (including my actual phone bill and any ‘itunes’ money spent for apps). I recently purchased a $50 gift card for itunes from my credit card rewards points to put toward these expenses, especially my monthly cloud storage bill of $2.99/month)
  3. Car gas
  4. Car insurance
  5. Car maintenance and legal
  6. Car – transport – misc (such as parking, tolls, ride shares and anything transportation related -not including travel- that doesn’t fit into the other car categories)

I have deemed my other monthly ‘bills’ as living expenses

  1. Health (some of which can be reimbursed through HSA) and I made the decision to cancel my monthly massage membership at $69.99 + $15 tip each month as it wasn’t making me as happy as it used to and now I can save that money and occasionally get massages without the pressure to get them monthly.
  2. Food – eating out
  3. Food – groceries
  4. subscriptions/memberships not covered under other categories such as my Costco membership (but I may collapse this category as AAA membership falls into car misc. and my WordPress hosting falls under writing. Perhaps my Costco membership falls under food – groceries?

I have labeled all my other expenses as Discretionary (if I needed to cut spending this is the category I would go to first and then reduce my spending in the living categories)

  1. Travel
  2. Housing/consumables (this is where I put spending like toilet paper, laundry detergent, toothpaste, as well as clothing)
  3. Dance and fitness
  4. Writing
  5. Charity/art support
  6. Entertainment
  7. Education
  8. Gifts (giving money directly and buying useful and loved gifts for others makes me happy and I decided that I would put it into my budget)
  9. Misc. (there are always items that cannot be categorized adequately like raffle tickets)

I have several categories for work that are both income and expenses

  1. Primary income from my day job
  2. Mystery shopping reimbursement that usually has additional money as payment
  3. Work-related reimbursements
  4. Other income (from side hustles)
  5. Mystery shopping (expense)
  6. Work-related expenses (expense)

I’ve opened a high-yield savings account and placed my emergency funds as well as my short term savings goals (Travel, New Car, New Computer, and New Phone, stock options that expire within 3 years) into that account and plan to automatically transfer certain amounts into each goal every month. I’m still working on the automation part but I have all my goals (between Betterment and my new Savings account) configured and dumped my initial starting amounts in those goals.

I am going to open my own 401k and fund it fully as well as my Roth IRA for 2019 if I can manage it with all my savings for the year. The max contribution for a 401k is $16,000 and the max contribution for my Roth IRA is $6000.

For the month of October I had quite a few side jobs and earned a lot of extra income in addition to my monthly primary income paycheck. I spent 56% of my primary income and 36% of my overall income for the month.

I absolutely love making, saving, organizing, and talking about finances. How is your budgeting and money tracking going?


Writing

Happy NaNoWriMo aka National Novel Writing Month. I plan to participate, win, and eventually finish the first draft of the second novel in my Romance Writers Series. This second book features a pole dancer and I’m very excited to share my knowledge and love of this hobby/sport/profession/passion/creative outlet. Dancing makes me very, very happy and I’ve taking pole dancing classes since 2014. If you happen to be in the Seattle area this weekend and are at all interested, you can go to Pole Sport Organization’s Seattle competition!

I’ve been working September to craft a useful outline and I’ve done the most thorough job I’ve ever done with an outline. Though I haven’t really written in two years, I’m very excited to get back into the habit.

Don’t forget to come visit me at the end of November!

11/29 at the Holly Jolly Holiday Market at Thomas Family Farm in Snohomish in the morning.


Thrill the World! I’ve participated since 2015. Every year I’ve been Zombie Waldo – with various accessories and different makeup. See if you can spot me in this year’s video.

My partner and I did something new this month and had mixed feelings on the event. We went to a Harry Potter themed pub crawl!


What are your goals and how are you meeting them this month?

Here is my January goal check in blog post!

Here is my February goal check in blog post!

Here is my March goal check in blog post!

Here is my April goal check in blog post!

Here is my May goal check in blog post!

Here is my June goal check in blog post!

Here is my July goal check in blog post!

Here is my August goal check in blog post!

Here is my September goal check in blog post!

Book Review: Prose Before Bros (Green Valley Library Book 3) by Cathy Yardley

Prose Before Bros (Green Valley Library Book 3) by Cathy Yardley

A Romance published by Amazon Digital Publishing (11/05/19)

Summary:

Thuy Nguyen is fully supportive of her best friend, Maddy… Even when Maddy returns to her childhood small town to become a farmer whilst pregnant and no baby-daddy insight. Small towns can be very judgmental and the local biker gang is no exception. It isn’t just the biker gang that harasses Maddy and Thuy, but one in particular is keen to bump into the duo of women. Maddy’s brother is a loyal member of the biker gang and he will have to decide between helping his sister or staying with his biker family. And Maddy can’t keep her eyes off of him but she knows intimately how impossible and dangerous a relationship with a biker can be.

Keywords:

Multicultural, Interracial, Library, Small Town, South, Romance, Contemporary, Motorcycle Club, Gang, Money, Inheritance, Siblings, Family, Love, Sex, Danger, Redemption, Loyalty, Fighting, Violence

My Review:

I absolutely loved the fact that Thuy is a librarian and has a great love for books, reading, and introducing others to the world of literature. I especially enjoyed the parts involving her talking about her love of books, how reading influenced her childhood (in a good way) and how she values those who value reading and books. The scene with Thuy talking to Drill about books was hilarious and even though his reaction seemed too good to be true, it was such fun to watch them bond over reading.

Thuy may seem like an innocuous librarian, but she is full of solid backstory and backbone. She is sweet and kind yet fierce and loyal. I loved how protective she was of Maddy and how close the two of them are in their relationship. I like how their friendship is such a strong bond. They are family. They support each other and don’t doubt the success of each other. I would have tried to dissuade Maddy from running a farm, but Thuy is with her best friend 100% on her decisions and is willing to learn how to be a farmer. She’s willing to give up her old life, her old job, her old way of doing things to be with Maddy through thick and thin.

I had to warm up to Drill. Just like it took time to warm up to that name, it took time to warm up to him as a character. A lot was stacked against him. Being part of a notoriously violent gang that doesn’t allow its members to talk to their ‘former’ family just seems childish. They have questionable morals but Drill proves that he’s ready to live a life less violent. He shows Thuy, his sister, and his MC family that he has changed over the years and I really liked seeing his transformation.

I was really worried that the ending couldn’t live up to the buildup and climax, but I was pleasantly surprised by the twist – which seemed obvious afterwards – and I was not let down at all. The resolution was very satisfying.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Publishing on 11/05/2019 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Cathy Yardley’s Website

2019 September Goals – Accountability, Check in, and the Big Disneyland Vacation

Zero-Waste

I’ve lost a lot of steam on the zero-waste front.


Fitness

September was a slow month. I was prepping to go on vacation. I went on vacation. I got sick after vacation. The month ended.

Here are my fitness stats for the month:

  1. Biking: 15.2 miles
  2. Pole classes: 1

Turkish language progress:

I now have 1,347 Anki cards. I’ve done 6,406 reviews. I have spent 6:35:48 reviewing with an average of 53 reviews per day. My grade is 71% C.

I’m behind again on my Rosetta Stone… I’m trying to finish Unit 10 this first week in October. I fell behind due to a vacation that lasted 1/3 of the month.

I’ve decided to focus only on the Rosetta Stone Units until I finish (there are only 12), while continuing to input my vocabulary into Anki and reviewing daily. When I finish Rosetta Stone I will begin my Memrise in earnest!


My main goal for the year was to save as much money as possible! I have been working the last few weeks with a financial coach. I decided to move most of my money into a Betterment account instead of working with an investing company. I am taking charge of my money, my savings, and my retirement.

Here are my goals in Betterment:

  1. Main retirement with my Roth IRA (already $16,000 in the fund and 30% funded for the year). Here is some info about the growth of my IRA according to my age and the amount I would potentially fund each year. In order to contribute the max $6000 each year to this IRA, I will budget $500 to come out of my monthly income starting January of 2020. Before the end of 2019 I plan to take $4000 out of my savings and put it directly into the IRA in order to max out my contribution allowance for 2019.

2. General investing… This is for any leftover income from the month I didn’t factor into my budget. I plan to grow this pot of money for many years.

3. Safety Net… This is a fund I want to build out to 6 months’ worth of living expenses ($12,000 with my current spending habits).

4. New Home… Eventually I want the option of purchasing a home and this would be the down payment. I plan to contribute $70,000 over the course of 10 years.

5. Care for Parents… Just in case… I plan to contribute $70,000 over the course of 10 years.

6. Travel… I plan to save $2000 for travel in a year.

7. New Phone… My current iPhone Xs (which I absolutely love) is one year old and I plan to have enough funds to purchase a new phone for around $900 in a year. I don’t expect to purchase a phone in one year, but I want        to have the funds available should I need to buy a new one or have the inclination when the new models come out next September.

8. New Computer… I use two desktop computers and they are both over 4 years old. My laptop was a refurbished Surface Pro that I got over 5 years ago. All three of these devices have started to show signs of aging and eventually I would like to purchase a high end laptop that I can connect to my wonderful dual monitors. I plan to save $1200 in one year. I will probably only buy a new computer when my laptop no longer works sufficiently (the battery still lasts 5 solid hours now). I will probably continue saving every month until I actually buy a new computer.

9. New Car… I sold my car last month. My partner and I are sharing his VW GTI – which has everything I want in a car: reliability and seat heaters. Joking aside, we eventually might want or need two cars again or to replace his car so I’m saving $12,000 over the course of two years .

10. My final goal is to purchase the equity I have in the company I work for. The equity I own has various purchase prices and deadlines but I made a goal of saving $23,681 over the course of 3 years to purchase the first stocks that would expire.

My savings plans for all the above goals involve saving and contributing the full amounts, but I hope my money will work with me and generate additional interest on top of my contributions so my money will go farther when I’m ready to pull it out and spend it. I will also re-evaluate these goals every few months. My 11th financial goal is to get my savings to work for me as well and to open a high yield interest savings account and put the rest of my ‘cash’ money into it.

In case you were wondering what I actually spent in September… Here are the stats: I spent 59% of my day job income and 49% of my income overall for the month of September. I was surprised that I was able to earn as much side income during this month as I did since I was out of state and on vacation for 10 days. I made a few changes to my monthly budgeting. I thought it was prudent to make a new category for “education” expenses as well as “gifts.” This reduced the amount of miscellaneous expenses I couldn’t fit into other categories.

Want to know where I am under budget for the year? Writing, Clothing (not a category anymore as I collapsed it into ‘household’), Health, Fitness, Education, Groceries, Household, Travel, Entertainment, Car, Housing, Phone, Misc, Charity. There are still three months in the year left to go though! More importantly, here are the categories I’m already over budget on: Eating Out and Gifts.


Writing

I signed up for three sales events for 2019:

11/29 at the Holly Jolly Holiday Market at Thomas Family Farm in Snohomish in the morning.

12/7 at the Si View Holiday Bazaar in the afternoon.

12/14 at the Artisan’s Holiday Faire in the Monroe Fairgrounds starting midday.

Will I ever actual get to writing? I don’t know. Maybe I’ll rustle up some time and motivation for NaNo this year. I do want to finish my contemporary romance book (and eventually series) that is already started.


Disneyland!

I spent quite a few hours preparing for our big Disneyland vacation this year and it went really well! I’ll leave a few of my favorite photos here. If you are planning to go, make sure you get a reservation at Oga’s Cantina, ride in the front of every roller coaster you can (especially the ones with pictures), go back at night and during the day to Guardian’s of the Galaxy in DCA, and get the mint julep and beignets from the Julep Bar.


What are your goals and how are you meeting them this month?

Here is my January goal check in blog post!

Here is my February goal check in blog post!

Here is my March goal check in blog post!

Here is my April goal check in blog post!

Here is my May goal check in blog post!

Here is my June goal check in blog post!

Here is my July goal check in blog post!

Here is my August goal check in blog post!

Book Review: Snow in Vietnam: A Novel by Amy M. Le

Snow in Vietnam: A Novel by Amy M. Le

A Historical Fiction novel published by Amazon Digital Services (05/24/2019)

Summary:

Snow is the youngest of seven children growing up in Vietnam during a time of war. Life isn’t always certain. The future isn’t always certain. Snow agrees to marry a Vietnamese man even though she pines for an American G.I. She gives birth to sick child with a heart problem. America could be her daughter’s chance to live and Snow’s chance for freedom. Vietnam is uncertain in times of unification but every time Snow gathers enough resources to leave, another tragedy forces her to prolong her escape.

Keywords:

Love, Family, Survival, Hope, Politics, War, Vietnam, Mother, Struggle, Historical, Women’s Fiction, Trust, Strength, Fear, Uncertainty, Freedom

My Review:

This book was gritty and raw. I didn’t always understand why Snow treated her daughter or family like she did at times, but I felt like I was looking into the life of a real person. Snow felt like a completely genuine person, flaws and all. Snow was the essence of bravery and determination. Her goal to escape with her daughter was always in her mind and always in her actions. But family and tragedy kept getting in the way. I loved how close knit family is portrayed in this book. The characters in this book would do anything for family – to honor them, to love them, to provide for them, to give them a chance for a better life.

The love story in this novel was cleverly wound around the war-torn country and its effects on Snow’s family. The mystery surrounding her G.I. will keep you guessing as to where he is. The book was sad yet compelling because Snow had the strength to continue to adapt and survive and care for her sick daughter. If she can live and prosper and love under those conditions, then anything is possible.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services 05/24/2019 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 4.50

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Amy M Le’s Website

Book Review: The Gospel According to St. Rage by Karen Eisenbrey

The Gospel According to St. Rage by Karen Eisenbrey

A Young Adult novel published by Not a Pipe Publishing (08/20/2019)

Summary:

Barbara Bensen doesn’t want to be invisible anymore. She’s ready to be seen. She wants to form an all-girl punk rock band but doesn’t know who to ask or how to ask them. Then she meets Jackson, charismatic and popular, and he introduces her to the first member of the future band. But Barbara isn’t the only one on the fringes outside of popularity who wants to be seen.

Keywords:

Music, Band, Girl Band, Punk, Rock, Teenagers, High School, Superpowers, Garage Band, Invisible, Bully, Introverted

My Review:

I absolutely adored Barbara’s inner commentary about herself and the world. She’s bleak and yet hopeful at the same time. She is the perfect blend of quirky and shy. She is the underdog I immediately root for. Her goal is to be seen. Her dream is to be in an all-girl rock band. I know what she wants and I’m right there with her wanting her to get everything she hopes for and more. We are all losers sometimes. Barbara’s story and her description of high school reminded me all too well of my own time as a shy girl in school.

I was at first shocked when Barbara wasn’t the only narrator in this story, but I really liked getting the perspective of the other students and members of the band. I loved how distinct each voice was and how each person had their own look, personality, and set of unique problems. I loved seeing the characters grow as the novel progressed.

I’m not a huge music person, but I really enjoyed all the nuances of starting a band and holding practices and performing. I could feel the band’s excitement when they were on stage and I was right there with them.

I’m not quite sure how I feel about the supernatural element in this book as it seems to fit perfectly with Barbara and her teenage dramas, but them seems at odds with the very realistic contemporary setting. I’m not sure the story was improved by including this element of fiction, but I’m also not sure that it detracts at all from the story either. The plot was complex enough to where the fantastical element was not necessary but I’m interested to see where the author takes it in the sequel.

This novel was published by Not a Pipe Publishing 08/20/2019 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 5.0

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Karen Eisenbrey’s Website

Book Review: Santiago’s In Trouble by Victoria Bastedo

Santiago’s In Trouble by Victoria Bastedo

A Mystery Romance novel published by Amazon Digital Services (08/08/2019)

Summary:

“Santiago is where adventure meets truth and superheroes come to the aid of the homeless. Santiago, in a way, is my life here in Seattle.”

Jacoby lives a normal life. He works the night shift as a guard. He helps out with a local Christian group. But soon his calm life will be thrown into chaos when a mysterious letter shows up claiming something about an inheritance, the lady upstairs is in trouble and needs his help, and a stranger keeps calling him racist names. What is going on and how will Jacoby respond to the accusations against his family, his upbringing, and his ethnicity?

Keywords:

Romance, Friendship, Sleuth, Mystery, Seattle, Queen Anne, Superhero, Humor, Adventure, Racism, Inheritance, Family, Brothers

My Review:

This is the ninth book I’ve ready by Victoria Bastedo and every book has been better than the last. Every book set in Seattle (Mini-Droids and Tea, Black Poodle Over Seven Hills) has been utterly enchanting. This book in particular, and the other books set in Seattle, very much reminds me of the charm, ease of reading, and mystery of Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple.

This book was a simple, meet-cute novel full of witty dialogue set against the lovely hills of Seattle’s Queen Anne and the surrounding neighborhoods. Santiago’s in Trouble was a charming fast read with a well-developed mystery surrounding the main character: Jacoby.

I loved the fact that Vivienne was a writer and placed herself into troubling situations in order to fully understand her female sleuth heroine: Santiago.

This book was centered more on Jacoby and his mystery and life than on Vivienne. This book also features strong Christian ties, though it works with the characters and the situations. The book itself is a sweet romance and does not go any further than gentle hinting at sex.

I absolutely enjoyed all the scenes and dialogue that included Jacoby’s cousin.

There were moments where I yelled at Jacoby for not being more interested or invested in the “mysterious inheritance.” Sometimes I wonder if there really are people out there who wouldn’t be curious about an inheritance.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services 08/08/2019 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 4.75

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

FreeValleyPublishing

SnoValleyHobbit

Victoria Bastedo WordPress

 

2019 August Goals – Accountability, Check in, and Selling My Car

As a combination money-saver, stress-reducer, and positive environmental impact I’ve sold my car! I’m attempting to utilize my bike, electric bikes/scooters, and ride-sharing more.

Do you have any other ideas I should consider to reduce my waste?

 


My goal this month was to follow the Blogilates Glutes challenge. I also followed the Blogilates abs and squats challenges as well. I did modify the challenges by taking Wednesdays off and towards the end of the month I took a few days off as well so that I have 5 more days of challenge to finish in the month of September to complete the three challenges.

Here are my fitness stats for the month:

  1. Biking: 74.6 miles
  2. Pole classes: 4

Turkish language progress:

I now have 1,299 Anki cards. I’ve done 5,771 reviews. I have spent 6:05:12 reviewing with an average of 52 reviews per day. My grade is 68% D. It appears some data was lost as my time and reviews has gone down since last month. I’ve also missed a few days’ reviews this month.

I fell behind in my Rosetta Stone and have to catch up to finish Unit 9 this week! I will also have to work extra diligently to complete Unit 10 this month since I will be “on vacation” for 10 days.

I purchased a yearly subscription to Memrise and will start incorporating daily practice with that app. I also have been utilizing the daily lesson in Mondly (free).

I tried out a Skype session with a live person from Turkey to see how personalized lessons would work. I wasn’t thrilled with the technology of Skype and it was difficult to understand the trainer at times. The sound quality left something to be desired as well. I don’t think continuing is worth the price at this time. Perhaps I will consider it again when I have finished all the Rosetta Stone units.


My main goal for the year was to save as much money as possible! I’m doing this by earning more money, spending less money, and investing the money that I do have. Here is my monthly budget spreadsheet:

Categories $$ to spend 19-Jan 19-Feb 19-Mar 19-Apr 19-May 19-June 19-July 19-Aug
Take home pay *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
Earnings *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
Total Earnings   *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
Rent 700 same  same same same same same same same
Phone 45 same same same same same same same same
Car 300 Over Over Under under under under over (paid for my 6-month insurance) Over (timing belt replacement)
Travel 100 Under  0 0 90.05 99.42 196.58 over (paid for a trip to Disney) 32.40
Housing Supplies 25 0  Over Under 105.52 (sharpened knives and got zero-waste supplies) 25.84 7.61 37.54 0
Health & Wellness 60 0 Over Under 113 110.45 84.95 179.45 90.95
Writing 25 Over Over 0 14.42 (e-books) 0 0 3.29 0
Charity/art 25 Over  15 Under 32 10 15 15 15
Entertainment 70 Over  20.95 Over 66.33 61.46 66.95 33.05 38.33
Fitness Classes 75 Over  0 30 0 133 35 100 115
Food – eating out 100 179.98  96.00 185.03 251.16 (Travel to FL) 536.77 (family is in town) 458.99 (family is in town) 276.98 277.34
Food – groceries 400 575.47 324.88 444 608.48 (travel to FL) 226.03 256.95 563.30 355.78
Misc. 50 47.92  92.03 660 (put my tax prep and a present in this category) 1.60 348.50 14.34 220.02 166.07
Total Spent  <50% 55% 42% 48% 47% 55% 42% 76% 35%
Total Savings 2080 Over Over Over Over Over Over Under Over

After getting my car in tip-top shape (replacing the timing belt), I sold it! Here are the final cost stats: $249.67 each month to legally own and drive my own car 🙂 – this is equivalent to paying $0.26/mile!


My writing goals!! I am considering self-publishing my middle grade fantasy that has been sitting for several years. I would want this to be published in time for the holidays and holiday sales. This would be my only middle grade book and I could then have an offering for younger readers. I also am in love with the cover art – I had it made by an artist whose work I adore = Donavon.

I nabbed three books from the library on plotting:

  1. 90 Days to your Novel
    A Day-by-day Plan for Outlining & Writing your Book
    by Domet, Sarah
  2. Fast Fiction
    A Guide to Outlining and Writing A First Draft Novel in Thirty Days
    by Jaden, Denise
  3. Take Off your Pants!
    Outline your Books for Faster, Better Writing
    by Hawker, Libbie

What are your goals and how are you meeting them this month?

Here is my January goal check in blog post!

Here is my February goal check in blog post!

Here is my March goal check in blog post!

Here is my April goal check in blog post!

Here is my May goal check in blog post!

Here is my June goal check in blog post!

Here is my July goal check in blog post!

Book Review: Ship of Fools: A Geek Girl Rom Com (Fandom Hearts Book 6) by Cathy Yardley

Ship of Fools: A Geek Girl Rom Com (Fandom Hearts Book 6) by Cathy Yardley

A Romantic Comedy published by RYW Publishing (07/30/19)

Summary:

Previously on Fandom Hearts…. Cressida left the safety of the bookstore to hunt for real live treasure with an almost-stranger. States away, she is having an emergency agoraphobic attack. Rachel has the means to get to Cressida quickly, by borrowing her ex-high school sweetheart’s family plane. Rachel only hesitates a moment before making the call. Ten years later, Ren breaking up with her, still hurts.

Ren never got over Rachel. He was pressured to break up with her so that he could focus on his schooling and career path that would eventually lead to him taking over the family business. Rachel’s phone call out of the blue brings up all sorts of nostalgia for Rachel and their relationship. Is she still the same woman he broke up with ten years ago? He has to find out and pleads for a date with Rachel.

Rachel feels obligated to thank Ren in person for helping Cressida, but she is also curious whether he’s grown as a person. Is he still putting family obligations and career aspirations first in his life or does he have room for a new relationship?

Keywords:

Friendship, Romance, Sisters, Family, Trust, Book Shop, Risk, Fear, Workaholic, Family Business, Private Car, Rich, Old Flame, Family Obligation

My Review:

I absolutely adore the Fandom Hearts Series. I love reading about the characters and how their lives intersect. I love how I get to know more about each of the main characters as they star in their own novels and as we read about them in all the other books. Ship of Fools has been my least favorite of the series. It lacked the wow factor of the other novels. I still thoroughly enjoyed this book. The Frost sisters did not let me down, but the romance between Rachel and Ren just wasn’t satisfying in the same way as all the other sisters’ romances were. The happy ending a bit bittersweet and left me wanting.

I wonder in what direction the Fandom Hearts books will go after this latest installment. All Frost sisters have found relationships outside of each other and they are moving on with their lives. I really would like more of Cressida’s story in the future. Cressida is my favorite character because she is the most vulnerable and most unique.

This novel was published by RYW Publishing on 07/30/2019 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Cathy Yardley’s Website

2019 July Goals – Accountability, Check in, and My Biggest Spending Month Yet

I’ve discovered more local fruit that I can forage! It’s raspberry season now and there are a lot of plums that are ripe. I believe that I have a mini plum tree in my own front yard! I also know of a location of a very productive plum tree and they are almost perfectly ripe! My housemate has a dehydrator that I played around with to dry out pineapple, apple, banana, orange, raspberry, and plum, as well as make some fruit leather. I can’t wait for the apples and pears to ripen so I can dry out a whole batch of them. I wonder how long they will last in my jars? Is there something I can do to make them last longer? I’ve also found some already ripened blackberries and have frozen a bunch and juiced some more. I’ve been making my own blackberry vinaigrette with them. The juice I made was a complete mess, but the juice is thick and delicious! If I can juice the blackberries in a larger volume and de-seed it, I can freeze it to use later in the year. Maybe I’ll make blackberry ice cubes?

I’m uncertain, but are these golden raspberries?

Do you have any other ideas I should consider to reduce my waste?


My goals this month were to bike at least 25 miles, take 4 dance classes, and do 4 strength training workouts. I met all three of these goals!

I went to exactly 5 pole classes, biked a total of 50.3 miles, and did 4 strength training sessions. Go me!

My goal in August is to follow the Blogilates Glutes challenge. I also want to throw in the abs challenge again.


Turkish language progress:

I now have 1,274 Anki cards. I’ve done 5,898 reviews. I have spent 6:07:28 reviewing with an average of 56 reviews per day. My grade is 72% C. I stopped adding so many new vocabulary words and want to focus on phrase building and grammar. I’m trying to find a course or tutor but it’s difficult as Turkish isn’t taught in all the schools around here. Any recommendations for a language learning program? I downloaded a few more apps to try out, like Mondly. I should be spending more time daily on my language learning but am having trouble figuring out what to study and how to study it without a strict follow-along type course such as my Rosetta Stone lessons. Speaking of Rosetta Stone, I’m now ready to start Unit 9! There are only 12 units in my Rosetta Stone but that seems silly. Shouldn’t there be more? I will have to find out if the course continues beyond what my app has downloaded.


My main goal for the year was to save as much money as possible! I’m doing this by earning more money, spending less money, and investing the money that I do have. Here is my monthly budget spreadsheet:

Categories $$ to spend 19-Jan 19-Feb 19-Mar 19-Apr 19-May 19-June 19-July
Take home pay *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
Earnings *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
Total Earnings   *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
Rent 700 same  same same same same same same
Phone 45 same same same same same same same
Car 300 Over Over Under under under under over (paid for my 6-month insurance)
Travel 100 Under  0 0 90.05 99.42 196.58 over (paid for a trip to Disney)
Housing Supplies 25 0  Over Under 105.52 (sharpened knives and got zero-waste supplies) 25.84 7.61 37.54
Health & Wellness 60 0 Over Under 113 110.45 84.95 179.45
Writing 25 Over Over 0 14.42 (e-books) 0 0 3.29
Charity/art 25 Over  15 Under 32 10 15 15
Entertainment 70 Over  20.95 Over 66.33 61.46 66.95 33.05
Fitness Classes 75 Over  0 30 0 133 35 100
Food – eating out 100 179.98  96.00 185.03 251.16 (Travel to FL) 536.77 (family is in town) 458.99 (family is in town) 276.98
Food – groceries 400 575.47 324.88 444 608.48 (travel to FL) 226.03 256.95 563.30
Misc. 50 47.92  92.03 660 (put my tax prep and a present in this category) 1.60 348.50 14.34 220.02
Total Spent  <50% 55% 42% 48% 47% 55% 42% 76%
Total Savings 2080 Over Over Over Over Over Over Under

After watching the millennial money on CNBC and the Graham Stephan Show React videos like this one, I decided to make a chart of my average monthly spending (an aggregate over the last 6 months):


My writing goals!! Sigh. Remember how fired up I was about accomplishing some of my writing goals? Well, I didn’t do a single thing towards accomplishing them in July. I still just don’t want to and I guess my focus really is elsewhere. When I have free time, I’d rather be outside, work out, take a pole class, watch a movie, or read a book. Hopefully I’ll be able to pick it back up in November with NaNoWriMo. I’ll still check in on my writing, but I won’t have high expectations for now.


What are your goals and how are you meeting them this month?

Here is my January goal check in blog post!

Here is my February goal check in blog post!

Here is my March goal check in blog post!

Here is my April goal check in blog post!

Here is my May goal check in blog post!

Here is my June goal check in blog post!


Recap of events this month: Food, food, and more food!

I found a wonderful boxed cinnamon roll mix that was fabulous!

I’ve been making more GF avocado toasts! I just take two plain rice cakes and spread with fresh avocado. I like to top them with a pinch of sea salt and pepper.

This year I finally made it out to the Seattle Street Food festival and had the best corn of my life and the worst donuts (Hot Revolution Donuts) of my life. We also tried out some dumplings from Kathmandu MoMoCha that were good.

How Much My 1998 Honda Civic Costs Per Month – 18 Month Analysis

I am an avid fan of analytics and cost breakdowns and have tracked every expense since I bought my Honda Civic in January of 2018. Originally it was listed on Craigslist for $2100, but I negotiated paying $2000. It had 183,000 miles when I bought it and it now has a little over 200,000 miles. This means that I have put 17,000 miles on it in 18 months – I have driven it under 1000 miles per month. It costs me $366/month right now to own, drive, and maintain this car. I get 34MPG on average.

I have no record of the last timing belt change – but the recommendation is every 100,000 miles so my car is due. It will cost between $500-$1000 for this maintenance and it will increase the cost of ownership of my car by ~$55/month if I were to do it immediately.

I do budget $300/month in car maintenance/gas/insurance/anything-but-the-cost-of-the-car and I have $465 saved up from that budgeting line item. I dislike spending money but the cost seems minimal in order to use this car. My worry is that I will put this money into the car and if something were to happen to it, that money would be wasted. However, if the timing belt were to break and I totaled my car then shame on me for not properly maintaining my faithful POSH Donut-Mobile.

12-month cost 01/16/19

Total

Per month

Initial Investment

2000

166.67

Legalities (Registration/Title)

350

29.17

Gas

1200

100

Insurance

1013.65

84.47

Maintenance

1600

133.33

2018 business miles

-761.54

-63.46

Total

5402.11

450.176

18-month cost 07/16/19

Total

Per month

Initial Investment

2000

111.11

Legalities (Registration/Title)

350

19.44

Gas

1433.74

79.65

Insurance

1793.08

99.62

Maintenance

2055.05

114.17

2018-2019 business miles

-1026.49

-57.03

Total

6605.38

366.97