January is my birthday month! Giveaway and Birthday Wish

Happy Birthday Month to me! It’s a milestone birthday. Can you guess how old I will be?

For my birthday this year I have two wishes:

  1. To sign my updated will
  2. To sell/give away books

I think I have the first wish figured out (it’s complicated getting a will signed apparently because you need two witnesses and a notary willing to sign wills).

The second wish is something I’m hoping you as my reader can help me with. You can enter my giveaway and tell all your friends below and you can also buy one of my books. While supplies last I will sell any of my four novels for just $10 (this includes sales tax and media mail shipping using re purposed mailers within the US not including Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Alaska). Every purchase will include something special in the mailer along with the book of your choice.

Just send $10 via Paypal with the book title of your choice and the address you want it mailed to paypal.me/rachelauthorbarnard

For the giveaway, you will get a copy of Donuts in an Empty Field by Rachel Barnard as well as Vanessa’s Book of Awesome Things and Nichole’s Book of Practical Things via media mail in a re-purposed mailer. For every additional five books that I sell during the month of January, I will draw an additional winner of the giveaway.

Giveaway Enter Here

Goals and Accomplishments from 2019 and Future Goals for 2020

Goals list of 2014
Goals list of 2015
Goals list of 2016
Goals list of 2017
Goals list of 2018

2020 Goals!!!

2020 Describe yourself in 3 words: Anxious, Quick, Analytic
2019 Describe yourself in 3 words: Driven, Efficient, Restless

2020 Describe what you want more of in 3 words: Patience, Deliberate, Calm
2019 Describe what you want more of in 3 words: Calm, Accomplished, Considerate

Theme for 2020: Hygge (2019: Minimize)


2019 Goals:

  1. Nail the Divine intermediate inversions combo – I ran out of classes and decided to use my remaining passes to take daytime Boudouir classes because my body was ready for a slower-paced class. I really enjoyed Missy’s classes. 
  2. Learn hand balancing moves (specifically a hand stand) – I worry about overtaxing my wrists and haven’t worked specifically on accomplishing this goal this year. I did take a handstand workshop and a one-on-one class.
  3. Take more acro yoga classes – I took a few acro yoga classes at the beginning of the year but after crossing over the initial learning curve, the classes didn’t interest me as much as pole classes. 
  4. Learn to make fluffy gluten free bread – I have been exploring cooking more this year but have only made GF bread a few times. I would like to eventually learn all the secrets to a perfect loaf but may not put this specific goal back on my list.
  5. Finish my scrapbook – I’ve decided that I don’t need a scrapbook anymore and will continue to keep my electronic records.
  6. Finish my health book through 2018 – I have my complete health records up to this year and plan to make a short version to place in my Will vault prior to my birthday in January.
  7. Management/Kanban training – Sadly the training I was signed up for to start in January of 2020 was not funded. I will wait to see if the next session in the fall will be funded and continue to look for more training opportunities.
  8. Learn massage techniques – My SO bought me an all-day workshop at a local massage school and I loved it! 
  9. Dog sit/walk a corgi – I was able to walk two corgis this year.
  10. Goat/cat yoga – I didn’t get around to signing up for this class and probably won’t unless with my dance group due to the high price of the class.
  11. Volunteer at Thrill the World and perform for the 5th year! I knew I was going to check this off the list… 
  12. Learn Turkish (get through the 12 modules on my Rosetta Stone app) – I’m proud of this accomplishment. I have stuck with my casual and slow learning of Turkish all year. Am I fluent? Not even close. I will continue to work on my vocabulary and grammar next year.


Of my 12 goals for 2019, I can officially cross off 5 of them. As the year progressed my priorities changed. I no longer wish to work on some of these goals at all and I no longer wish to prioritize others. For my travel dreams (Corgi Con, Pole expo, Blind Café, Herb Farm or a Michelin-starred restaurant) I didn’t do any of them. One of these years Corgi Con won’t also fall on the same weekend as something else I plan to do. Pole expo is quite expensive and I would only go with one of my pole sisters. If my SO and I travel to another city with a Blind Cafe we might check it out. Herb Farm or Michelin-starred restaurant will wait until I have much more cash to throw away on an extravagantly-priced meal or if we happen to be close by and can snag a reservation to one of the infamous Michelin restaurants. 


2020 Goals:

Each month I have written an accountability and check in post
January 2019
February 2019
March 2019
April 2019
May 2019
June 2019
July 2019
August 2019
September 2019
October 2019
November 2019

I have broken out my goals into the following categories:


I want to try out some small lifestyle change style challenges. I wanted to spend each month focusing on a different aspect of health and fitness. Here are my ideas so far: stretching every morning, increasing my water intake, cooking all my own food, reading more self-growth books, eating more veggies, biking/running, reducing my sugar intake. I very much enjoy the Blogilates challenges and may continue to use those challenges and/or the monthly calendar.


  1. Max out my Roth IRA, 401k and HSA contributions
  2. Build up my emergency savings to 6 months
  3. Save 50% of my income


  1. Deplete my physical book inventory
  2. Break even on Ataxia and At One’s Beast
  3. Revamp my website
  4. Write 4 short stories
  5. Send out 4 newsletters
  6. Publish a new coloring book

For January here are my specific goals:

Financial: Sign/notarize my will, finish adding beneficiaries to all my banking/investing accounts, choose and purchase disability insurance, finalize my automatic money flow, finish updating my death binder, connect all my sources of side income to my new business banking account, and go through my budget and spending for 2019 and work on my 2020 budget.

Fitness: 10 minutes of stretching every morning (splits stretching for beginners), work through the Blogilates January calendar to get more exercise daily

Writing: Run a book giveaway, send out a birthday wish to buy my print inventory (at a discount), pull At One’s Beast and Ataxia from everything but Amazon and then enroll in KDP select, add a purchasing print book option to my website, author tea date with two local authors, send out queries to previous reviewed authors for free print book, send newsletter as 2019 wrap up and 2020 look ahead, research possible new coloring book and cost, research writer’s conferences and costs for 2020, create Donuts Books marketing plan for 2020 in June, review at least one Indie book

2019 Reading Challenge Books in Review and Recommended Reads

2015 Reading Challenge Blog Post

2016 Reading Challenge Blog Post

2017 Reading Challenge Blog Post

2018 Reading Challenge Blog Post

I spent $38.35 on kindle books this year

My favorite books I read this year:

  • The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy by Stanley, Thomas J.
  • Playing with FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early): How Far Would You Go for Financial Freedom? by Rieckens, Scott
  • Final Girls by Sager, Riley
  • I Will Teach You to Be Rich: No Guilt. No Excuses. No BS. Just a 6-Week Program That Works by Sethi, Ramit
  • The Last Time I Lied by Sager, Riley
  • Lock Every Door by Sager, Riley
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Cain, Susan
  • Your Money or Your Life by Robin, Vicki
  • Unofficial Guide to Disneyland 2019 (The Unofficial Guides) by Kubersky, Seth
  • Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Land, Stephanie
  • I Miss You When I Blink: Essays by Philpott, Mary Laura
  • Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Gilbert, Elizabeth
  • Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Stone, Douglas
  • Nineteen Minutes by Picoult, Jodi
  • Where There’s Smoke by Picoult, Jodi
  • A Spark of Light by Picoult, Jodi
  • Red Glove (Curse Workers, #2) by Black, Holly
  • She’s Come Undone by Lamb, Wally
  • When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Pink, Daniel H.
  • Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It by Wyner, Gabriel
  • You’re Never Weird on the Internet by Day, Felicia
  • Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste by Johnson, Bea
  • Frat Girl by Roache, Kiley
  • All We Ever Wanted by Giffin, Emily
  • The Story of Stuff: How Our Obsession with Stuff is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities, and our Health—and a Vision for Change by Leonard, Annie
  • The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking
  • Educated by Westover, Tara

My favorite Indie books that I read this year:

  1. Prose Before Bros (Green Valley Library, #3) by Yardley, Cathy
  2. The Gospel According to St Rage by Eisenbrey, Karen
  3. Snow in Vietnam: A Novel by Le, Amy M.
  4. Santiago’s In Trouble by Bastedo, Victoria
  5. Ship of Fools (Fandom Hearts, #6) by Yardley, Cathy
  6. Kate Jones Thriller Books by Berkom, D.V.
  7. Love Songs, Detours, Et Cetera (Senior Year Sweethearts Book 1) by Huchton, Starla
  8. Spin by Farnham, K.J.
  9. The Triskaidek (Volume 1) by Sprig, Basil
  10. The Pirate’s Booty by Darroch, D.M.
  11. The Devil You Know by Huchton, S.A.
  12. Riches to Rags by Bond, Casey L.
  13. Playing Doctor (Fandom Hearts, #5) by Yardley, Cathy


Out of the 67 books that I read:

25 Indie Books

28 Nonfiction Books


The books I read this year:

I think I will make my challenge for next year the average books pledged for 2019: 64 books.

2019 Physical Activity – Dance, Health, and Fitness

2018 Physical Activity Blog Post Breakdown

2017 Physical Activity Blog Post Breakdown

2016 Physical Activity Blog Post Breakdown

2015 Physical Activity Blog Post Breakdown

How do you work out?

Pole Dancing Highlights for 2019
2. I took 37 classes total
3. I spent $566 total
4. I spent 55.5 hours in class
5. I worked with 9 different instructors

Lifetime money spent (just for pole classes): $6914.95
2014 – $90
2015 – $422.21
2016 – $1777
2017 – $2594
2018 – $1465.74
2019 – $566

Lifetime total pole classes: 410
2014 – 6
2015 – 19
2016 – 109
2017 – 139
2018 – 92
2019 – 37

Total time spent poling: 647.5
2014 – 10.5 hours
2015 – 37.5 hours
2016 – 173.5 hours
2017 – 226 hours
2018 – 144.5 hours
2019 – 55.5

Class Breakdown at different studios for 2019
Divine – 6/37 = 16%
Spinderella – 27/37 = 73%
P3 – 1/37 = 3%
BeSpun – 1/37 = 3%
Vertical Academy – 2/37 = 5%


In other fitness accomplishments:

  • I measured my body three times: Once with BodySPEC 1/4/19, and twice with InBody 3/31/19 and 7/26/19
  • I completed the Blogilates 100 abs challenge in January
  • I completed the Blogilates Glutes, abs, and squats challenge in August
  • I took 1 Thriller rehearsal class this year
  • I biked 221.8 miles
  • Did some strength training (16 sessions)
  • Took 5 AcroYoga classes
  • I played tennis 3 times
  • I tried out Katalyst fitness


My favorite fitness photos: Buying a new helmet, volunteering at PSO, hiking in CA


2019: AMC A-List – Watched and Recommended Movies for the Year

Total cost paid for movies watched in 2019 in theatres: $278.15… total value for movies watched = $1,281.67

Total cost paid for movies watched in 2018 in theatres: $297.42… total value for movies watched = $839.45

“*” indicates a movie I particularly enjoyed and would recommend.


January: $147.89 value… paid $20.95

  • Second Act (11.29)
  • Miss Bala (18.99)
  • *Escape Room (12.49)
  • If Beale Street Could Talk (12.59)
  • *On the Basis of Sex (12.49)
  • *Glass (18.99)
  • A Dog’s Way Home (12.29)
  • *Replicas (12.49)
  • *The Upside (11.29)
  • The Kid Who Would be King (12.49)
  • Serenity (12.49)

February: $111.42 value… paid $20.95

  • The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (18.99)
  • Greta (12.49)
  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (12.49)
  • What Men Want (12.49)
  • Alita: Battle Angel (17.49)
  • *Fighting with My Family (12.49)
  • *Happy Death Day 2U (12.49)
  • Isn’t it Romantic (12.49)

March: $97.04 value… paid $20.95

  • Us (17.59)
  • Cold Pursuit (12.49)
  • *Captain Marvel (18.99)
  • Dumbo (18.99)
  • Captive State (12.49)
  • Wonder Park (16.49)

April: $34.18… paid $20.95

  • Hellboy (15.19)
  • *Avengers: Endgame (18.99)

May: $75.55 value… paid $20.95

  • *Aladdin (18.99)
  • *Pokemon Detective Pikachu (12.49)
  • Tolkien (12.59)
  • John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (18.99)
  • Brightburn (12.49)

June: $138.71 value… paid $23.05

  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (18.99)
  • Rocketman (12.49)
  • Dark Phoenix (18.99)
  • Yesterday (12.29)
  • Toy Story 4 (18.99)
  • Men in Black International (18.99)
  • The Dead Don’t Die (12.49)
  • The Secret Life of Pets 2 (12.49)
  • Shaft (12.99)

July:  $118.23 value… paid $41.05

  • *Spider-Man: Far From Home (18.99)
  • *Midsommar (6.29)
  • *Stuber (12.49)
  • Opening Night Fan Event: The Lion King = 18.00
  • The Lion King (18.99)
  • *The Art of Self Defense (12.99)
  • Crawl (12.99)
  • *Booksmart (5.00)
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (12.49)

August: $108.93 value… paid $23.05

  • Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (12.99)
  • Where’d You Go Bernadette (12.99)
  • Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (12.99)
  • Dora and the Lost City of Gold (17.99)
  • *Good Boys (12.99)
  • The Matrix: 20th Anniversary (19.49)
  • Angel Has Fallen (19.49)

September: $55.46 value… paid $23.05

  • IT Chapter Two (19.49)
  • Hustlers (12.99)
  • Ad Astra (11.49)
  • Rambo: Last Blood (11.49)

October: $129.43 value… paid $38.05

  • Joker (19.49)
  • Gemini Man (19.49)
  • *Zombieland 2: Double Tap (12.99)
  • Metallica & San Francisco Symphony:S&M2 = 15.00
  • Jexi (12.99)
  • Gemini Man HFR (16.99)
  • The Addams Family (12.99)
  • Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (19.49)

November: $160.90 value… paid $23.05

  • Terminator: Dark Fate (17.99)
  • Last Christmas (12.99)
  • Doctor Sleep (19.49)
  • *Ford V. Ferrari (19.49)
  • Midway (19.49)
  • *Jojo Rabbit (12.99)
  • The Good Liar (12.99)
  • Charlie’s Angels (12.99)
  • Frozen II (19.49)
  • 21 Bridges (12.99)

December:  $103.93 value… paid $23.05

  • *Knives Out ($12.99)
  • Jumanji (19.49)
  • *Star Wars (19.49)
  • Cats (12.99)
  • Bombshell (12.99)
  • *Little Women (12.99)
  • Uncut Gems (12.99)

2019 Rachel’s Favorite Recipes Throughout the Year

2016 Favorite Recipes

2017 Favorite Recipes

2018 Favorite Recipes

These are the recipes I have liked and used more than once:

  1. Zucchini Fritters
  2. Pressure Cooker Thai Peanut Chicken & Noodles
  3. GF Sweet Potato Pancakes
  4. Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana Soup
  5. Cauliflower and Parsnip Soup
  6. Instant Pot Pulled Pork
  7. Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole

Continue reading

2019 Best and Worst Purchases of the Year, Favorite Restaurants, Favorite Activities

Top Purchases for the year:


Ever since learning to make macarons, I have wanted a macaron template silicone baking mat. I use these mats for more than just macarons. They are great to use in place of tinfoil and to protect the cooking sheet. They are easier to wash when food gets caked to them than the pan. I just flip them over to the blank side when I’m not using the circular macaron templates for macarons.

I had heard about people making their own laundry soap, or using castille soap, but then I heard about soap nuts and was intrigued. They are compostable and last for quite some time. They are unscented and natural. I think they work great and will definitely buy them again in 5 years or so when I need more… You only need to use 4-6 of the nuts in each load and I replace them every month (after 3-5 uses). I have lost the little baggie amidst the wet clothes and accidentally let it go through the dryer once or twice and am not sure how that affects the soap nuts…

Upon a recommendation, I bought a high end shower filter, but the filter was supposed to be replaced every 6-12 months and I couldn’t replace just the filter I had to replace the entire unit and it was costly. This filter is much smaller and more cost effective to replace.

My sister gave me two pairs of Thinx last year for my birthday and I love them quite a lot, however; you’re not supposed to put them in the laundry. It’s tedious to wash so much fabric every day, so I invested in a set of reusable pads. Now I use a combination of my Thinx, these reusable pads, and my dwindling supply of panty liners when traveling or for convenience.

When I take my purse, this product is always inside. After chipping my tooth from accidentally biting down hard on a metal fork, this softer bamboo set made me feel better about my silverware choices. Many Zero Wasters say to just toss the silverware you already have into your to-go kit, but I really like having this softer non-metal set and I only own a small set of silverware anyways (we use our housemate’s set in the kitchen). The kid’s bamboo set is much more travel friendly and the utensils themselves are soft and blunt and work perfectly.

After getting the high end Berkey filter for my home (thanks Can!) I really didn’t want to go back to unfiltered water. I saw this product at the local Recology store and loved the concept! I tossed it into my 32oz water bottle and was able to fill up at the airport and while traveling with more peace of mind.

I upped my mouth health game this year and purchased a tongue scraper. Though mine I bought from the local Recology store, this version is very similar to what I have. The first thing I do when I wake up is use it.


Worst Purchases for the year:

I really wanted to be able to put lids on all the glass jars I’ve been collecting but alas this purchase didn’t fit most of my jars. The only size that works is the smallest, which I’ve used now and then this year, but most of them are really large and don’t stretch that well. I should have bought the beeswax wrap instead but am loathe to throw out this product as waste. It also came with a set in white and a set in blue so I have many more than I need.

I read that sunscreen expires after 6 months so I figured I would need to buy new sunscreen every summer and decided to invest in a reef safe version. Alas, this sunscreen is so thick that it doesn’t rub into the skin and sits on top of it. I’m very texture/touch sensitive and very much dislike anything oily sitting on top of my skin. My partner agrees that this is no fun to use and gross all around for humans, even if it is safer for the environment. I will never again buy sunscreen that I’m not familiar with.

Katchka Restaurant in Portland. 

I love trying new foods and new experiences. When traveling to Portland, I looked up recommended destinations. Katchka was at the top of the list for unique dining experiences. I was intrigued. Authentic Russian foods. With 4.5/5 stars and 800+ reviews on Yelp, how could it not be a hit? We checked out the menu and being unfamiliar with Russian food the three of us were intrigued by the “Ruskie Zakuski Experience’ advertised on the menu. We arrived without a reservation and were told that it would be a couple of hours before a table opened up. Disappointed, we prepared to Uber away when the host was able to squeeze us somehow onto half of a tall and narrow table within 10 minutes. We were very grateful and sat down with excitement, ready for the experience.

“Sit back and let us fill your table with an array of cold zakuski to start your meal off right! $30 per person. Full table participation is required. Don’t forget to order the vodka!
How to eat like a Russian
step 1: cover every square inch of your table with zakuski
step 2: fill everyone’s glasses with their beverage of choice (like vodka, or maybe vodka)
step 3: search your soviet soul for a spirited toast. When in doubt, a toast to friends, life, or simply “boo-dyim”!
step 4: clink. drink. eat. repeat.”

Sounds amazing, right? We ordered a flight of vodka and waited expectantly for our table to be covered with these mysterious zakuski. The table was a bit narrow, so it wouldn’t have been that difficult to cover its entirety for the three of us. The server took our order of the Russian Zakuski Experience with a nod and not much more. The experience that follows was very surprising to me. I can only describe each small dish as cold and odd appetizers dim sum style that were brought one by one with enough food on each plate for each of us to take one bite. None of us much liked any of the 10 or so cold dishes that were brought and by the end we were confused, hungry, and $90+ poorer, wondering where we had gone wrong. Had the food actually tasted amazing, the $30/person for 10 small bites would have maybe been worth it. We paid our bill and left, not wanting to try anything else on the menu and a bit shocked that our server had not warned us what kind of experience we were in for and that it wasn’t going to be enough food for a meal or that we wouldn’t get any more than those 10 plates between us.

Hot Revolution Doughnuts at the Seattle Street Fair

Never have I ever been so mad at donuts. What a waste of good money. I took two bites and threw all of the donuts straight into the trash. My partner agrees that these donuts were not fresh and very stale. I can’t believe they would have the gall to serve old donuts. I paid a lot of money (around $20 for the variety) for these disappointments. Normally I would demand a refund if I were served sub-par food, but we weren’t in the mood and I was so shocked that they would serve old donuts in the first place. I will NEVER eat their donuts again and I will ALWAYS tell people in the area to steer clear. Shame. Wish I hadn’t bothered breaking my diet for them.


Favorite Restaurants:

Din Tai Fung – My favorite restaurant. I never knew dumplings could taste so delicious!

Stone Lounge – Don’t go for the karaoke. Don’t go for the service. Go for the happy hour Wagyu burger and get it with sweet potato fries. My favorite burger of the year. I also quite enjoyed the Aloha burger.

Marysville Jeff’s Texas BBQ – Arguably one of the best BBQ places in the state. Make sure to try their brisket! Their sides are just okay, but their meat is sublime.

Palace Korean – One of my favorite buffet places!

Smoke and Shine – Never have I ever wanted to eat just the side dishes, but the Jalapeno Cheddar Hush Puppies served with a side of bourbon honey butter are that good! We liked everything that we tried there so far.

Sirena Gelato – I love ice cream and this gelato place has the creamiest gelato I’ve ever tasted. This place is better than Molly Moon’s for a local frozen dessert.

Gyu Kaku – Such a fun dining experience and the food was delicious!

Route 22 Taproom – We only tried two of their dishes, but I was blown away by their nachos. Best bar nachos ever!

Blue Bayou (Disneyland) – Worth every penny for our entrees. This restaurant is unique and the ambiance is fantastic. Forget proposing at the Wishing Well, I think the Blue Bayou is more romantic.

Oga’s Cantina (Disneyland) – Drinks may cost you an arm and a leg but they are definitely worth the price for the atmosphere you get to drink them in. I have never spent so much money at a bar before and I have never had as much fun. I would go back to Disneyland just to go to Oga’s Cantina.


Favorite Activities:

BodySpec testing – It was very fascinating to get a full body scan and the breakdowns of body fat and muscle mass in each limb of the body.

Zero Waste Workshop at the library – I started getting into the zero-waste movement at the beginning of the year and by the time I went to this workshop, I knew most of what the workshop was about but it was still fascinating regardless. The presenter also brought her entire family’s zero-waste personal care products for everyone to see.

Ludovico Einaudi – It has been years since I saw a musician perform and I loved seeing the pianist’s performance at McCaw Hall.

Star Wars at Benaroya Hall – Everyone should see a movie with a live orchestra at least once in their life.

Seattle Food Festival – I was introduced to the form of corn that is both delicious and amazing. I call it Crack Corn. It is like elote off the cob. It was a bag of fritos with corn kernels, special cheese, hot sauce, and lime juice. We now make this recipe at home all the time.

Beginner’s Massage Workshop – A 7-hour class for just $50! What a bargain. I got a crash course in beginner’s massage and I loved it! We practiced on each other. Half the class were going to enroll at the school for the full course and the other half were just there for fun.

Divine Holiday Party – The yearly holiday party at one of my pole studios is so much fun. I love hanging out with my pole community and watching the demos.

Thrill the World – I’ve participated in the yearly Thrill the World event for years as both a dancer and a volunteer and I love how well-organized this local event is and how many participants they get every year.

Norwescon – Every year that I go to Norwescon I have fun. It’s like our own local Comic Con. I just wish that parking were free/easier and it was closer to me. I have always day tripped down to the event and haven’t stayed in the hotel like others, though. Maybe someday I will shell out for the full experience. This year my writer’s group had a booth and we sold our books.

Maple Valley Days volunteering – I’ve volunteered at this local event for 7 years now and it’s fascinating how much effort and organization goes into this multi-day community event. I learn so much about conflict, resolution, organization, etc. as I volunteer.

PSO volunteering – I love this yearly event and I volunteered as announcer, ticketing booth, and as a pole cleaner this year. I’ve never been an announcer before and it was fun but difficult.

Savi’s Workshop and Oga’s Cantina Disneyland – When my partner and I were planning our Disneyland trip this year, we had debated whether $200 was too expensive to build a lightsaber. The reviews said that it was worth the money, more so than building a droid and we made our reservation. Though we had just come from Oga’s Cantina after our two drinks, we had a blast at this ceremony.

Star Wars Marathon – Stay awake all night watching Star Wars? Free blanket and popcorn all night long? I was excited and trepidatious at the same time. I get cranky when I’m tired and I don’t do ‘all nighters.’ We drank coffee like fiends in the evening and settled into our large airplane-sized chairs with our beautiful blankets on our laps and settled in for the marathon. The lady next to me had brought more stuff than could fit in her space and spilled both her popcorn and her drinks throughout the night. The man next to Can only came for Force Awakens. We ate two large tubs of popcorn, two large sprites, and two large waters. I made it a habit of going to the bathroom and putting eye drops in before every movie. I only missed five minutes of the beginning of one movie while waiting in line for my free drink refill. It was neat seeing all the movies continuously and making new connections between them. I really enjoyed the last movie as well.


2019 – November – What I Spend in a Month in Seattle

I only have three non-changeable living expenses per month: Rent at $700, car insurance at $145, and my phone bill that is usually around $150 but was discounted for this month. This comes out to $995/month or $248.75/week.

I have monthly discretionary expenses that could be reduced in the future: $393/month or $98.25/week

  1. Financial education at $150/month
  2. Massage from Hand & Stone at $69.95/month plus tip (I already canceled my membership and will only be getting occasional massages next year)
  3. Supplements at around $130/month
  4. Patreon support at $20/month
  5. Entertainment at $23.05/month for AMC A-list membership

After canceling my massage membership and finishing up my financial education, next year I will be spending $173.05/month or $43.26/week

I have monthly discretionary expenses that vary:

  1. Gas for the car (I budget $100/month and the range is $25 – $202 per month)
  2. Maintenance on the car (usually twice/year there is maintenance done on the car and I budget $100/month for those costs. The next car maintenance at 40k miles will cost $1500 so I will have to increase my budget to accommodate this expense.)
  3. Transportation (includes Good to Go, Uber/Lyft, etc that I budget $25/month)
  4. Food from the grocery store (varies from $220 to $595 per month and averaged $398/month or $94/week. I budgeted $250/month for next year or $62.50/week)
  5. Food from eating out (Ranged from $154 – $890 per month and averaged $350/month or $82/week. I budgeted $150/month for next year or $37.50/week)
  6. Gifts (I budget $100/month and this includes shipping costs, games, and gift cards)

I have expenses that come up every so often that aren’t always monthly

  1. Travel (I spent $2618 this year on travel related expenses, equal to $218/month or $51/week. I traveled to Florida and Disneyland in 2019. I budgeted $100/month in 2020 for this category of spending.
  2. Housing and consumables (I spent $371 this year on clothing and household items which is equal to $31/month or $7/week. I budgeted $25/month in 2020 for this category of spending)
  3. Writing (I spent $241 last year on writing-related expenses, which is equal to $20/month or $5/week. I budgeted $75/month in 2020 for this category of spending because I want to go to the Romance Writer’s Conference in the area next year).
  4. Dance and fitness (I spent $579.45 total this year, to equal $48.29/month or $11.14/week even though I budget $100/month. I budgeted only $75/month for this category of spending in 2020. )
  5. Taxes and tax prep (Since I have my own side business, I have to pay quarterly taxes and pay for additional tax preparation help every year)

Here is the breakdown of everything I spent in the month of November:

Date Purchase Category Amount Day
11/3/2019 Kitchen Istanbul restaurant Food – eating out -$52.00 Sunday
11/4/2019 Patreon: PSGR, Ksenia Anske, Katie Wismer Charity/Art Support -$15.00 Monday
11/6/2019 Imperfect Foods Grocery Delivery Food – groceries -$25.75 Wednesday
11/7/2019 Hand & Stone Massage Health -$69.95 Thursday
11/8/2019 BIBI Mediterranean restaurant Food – eating out -$41.15 Friday
11/8/2019 QFC Grocery Store Food – groceries -$38.27 Friday
11/8/2019 The UPS store Gifts -$48.13 Friday
11/12/2019 NaNoWriMo Donation Charity/Art Support -$30.00 Tuesday
11/12/2019 AMC movie theatre popcorn Food – eating out -$10.54 Tuesday
11/12/2019 Trader Joe’s Grocery Store Food – groceries -$5.99 Tuesday
11/12/2019 Supplements Health -$90.77 Tuesday
11/13/2019 Pizza week Seattle pizza slices Food – eating out -$10.00 Wednesday
11/13/2019 Grocery Outlet Grocery Store Food – groceries -$8.94 Wednesday
11/15/2019 Gas from Costco Car Gas -$36.65 Friday
11/15/2019 Safeway Grocery Store Food – groceries -$30.99 Friday
11/19/2019 AMC movie theatre concessions Food – eating out -6.92 Tuesday
11/20/2019 Imperfect Foods Grocery Delivery Food – groceries -36.51 Wednesday
11/20/2019 GROCERY OUTLET Grocery Store Food – groceries -17.42 Wednesday
11/21/2019 IJ Sushi Burrito restaurant at the mall Food – eating out -27.7 Thursday
11/22/2019 Safeway Grocery Store Food – groceries -63.7 Friday
11/22/2019 TMOBILE*AUTO PAY 800-937-8997 WA Phone -18.68 Friday
11/24/2019 AMC movie theatre concessions Food – eating out -3.62 Sunday
11/25/2019 Safeway Grocery Store Food – groceries -$66.65 Monday
11/25/2019 Bartell Drug Grocery Store Food – groceries -$4.99 Monday
11/26/2019 Auto insurance Car Insurance -145.12 Tuesday
11/26/2019 Financial Coach Education -$150.00 Tuesday
11/26/2019 Pagliacci pizza restaurant Food – eating out -$28.61 Tuesday
11/27/2019 Gas from Costco Car Gas -$17.01 Wednesday
11/27/2019 AMC A-list Entertainment -$23.05 Wednesday
11/27/2019 Whole Foods Grocery Store Food – groceries -$8.33 Wednesday
11/27/2019 Trader Joe’s Grocery Store Food – groceries -$8.97 Wednesday
11/27/2019 Wa Secretary Of State LLC application Side Hustle Expenses -$200.00 Wednesday
11/29/2019 Holly Jolly Market tacos food truck Food – eating out -$16.00 Friday
11/29/2019 Local Market: lip balm, candle, scrub Housing/Consumables -$28.00 Friday
11/29/2019 Amzn Digital book purchase for review Writing -$11.00 Friday
11/30/2019 Rent payment Rent -$700.00 Saturday

My typical monthly spending will not include a payment to the WA secretary of state as this was a one-time expense. Future monthly spending will not include the $69.95 for a massage. I might have more expenses related to transportation, fitness, and gifts. I am working to reduce my monthly spending on food. I combine the category for housing and consumables and this category includes clothing, personal hygiene, laundry soap, etc. I’m able to keep these expenses close to $0 because I earn gift cards throughout the year that I can use to purchase these items.

2019 November Goals – Accountability, Check in, and 2020 Budget


I have a lot of household items to gift and sell and I’m slowly working through that pile. I was very happy to gift out half my jar collection so they can live another life before eventually being recycled. I went through all my remaining junk mail from the past two months and tried to get onto the do not mail lists for all of them. We receive so much junk mailing at this rental address!


I’m ready to tackle another fitness challenge for the month of December after a very light November. I was thinking of adding in a daily focused workout that would be the same every Monday but different day-to-day. For instance I would do abs on Monday, squats on Tuesday, etc.

Here are my fitness stats for the month:

  1. Biking: 0 miles
  2. Pole classes: 3
  3. PSO volunteer: 1 shift as pole cleaner

Turkish language progress:

I now have 1,480 Anki cards. I’ve done 6,698 reviews. I have spent 6:49:08 reviewing with an average of 53 reviews per day. My grade is 71% C (same as last month).

I’m almost finished with Rosetta Stone! Unit 12 is much more difficult than the other units and I still have 6/39 left to complete. Then I’m moving on to my Memrise subscription.

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. I’m automating my money flow and prioritizing how I spend my money and where it goes. See this helpful post and chart from Reddit on how to prioritize spending your money:

I created my monthly and yearly budget for 2020 this month which I will probably share in my year-end financial breakdown. I also wrote down my financial goals:

Daily financial goals:

  •  To love what I buy and buy what I love

1-year financial goals:

  • Max out my Roth IRA, 401k, and HSA
  • Save and invest at least 50% of my income
  • Have 6-months living expenses worth of emergency savings

10-year financial goals:

  • Be a millionaire in combined assets, cash, retirement funds

I read a really good step-by-step finances book that I recommend:

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


I spent time every day until I hit 50k words this month writing for National Novel Writing Month. I even hosted write-ins on Mondays. I still have several chapters left to write in this draft and then I’ll probably switch gears and work on another project.

Don’t forget to come visit me this December at the following events:

12/07 at the Si View Holiday Bazaar in xx from 12PM – 4PM.

12/14 at the Artisan’s Holiday Faire at the Monroe Fairgrounds from 12:30PM – 4PM.


I made pies this year!

A pumpkin (both GF and regular flour) and an apple (both GF and regular flour).

I have seen more and more mushrooms out during my dog walks…


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!

Here is my October goal check in blog post!

Local Event Alert! Holly Jolly Holiday Market in Snohomish, WA 11/29/19

My first event this winter! Come see me and over 100 other vendors at the Holly Jolly Holiday Market in Snohomish!

Come support your favorite local vendors, businesses and food trucks for this great FREE event on Black Friday, November 29th, 2019 and Small Business Saturday, November 30th, 2019.

Featuring more than 125 vendors! This is a great place to start your holiday shopping and support your local community by buying local instead at large national chain stores! Many vendors will be offering great sales!

We will have food and espresso trucks on site as well.

Santa will also be making an appearance on Saturday (more info!)