True Cost – Mexico City for 10 days in 2020

We touched down Friday night and I’ve been itching to fully record and go through all the expenses from our trip to Mexico City. Our first two expenses were the majority of our travel costs, i.e. plane tickets and housing. We found a lovely AirBnB in Roma Norte and we bought plane tickets from Seatac to Mexico City (MEX) for $940 each (I went with my partner and SO). The plane ride there was overnight and left at 10PM. We scored the row to ourselves (as did most of the other flyers on this less-than-full flight). They even gave us food a few hours in! Arriving early, we were initially wondering what to do prior to checking into our AirBnB but our host graciously let us check in 6 hours early and we took a much needed nap!

Surprising things:

  • The altitude is no joke! I could feel it in the shallow breaths that didn’t quite have as much oxygen as I wanted (almost like asthma) and how difficult it was to walk up stairs without becoming short of breath. I’m very glad we didn’t schedule our Teotihuacan trip until several days into our stay.
  • The traffic – if you are within a mile of your destination – driving might not be faster and Ubers don’t turn on their air-conditioning (opening the windows doesn’t create much of a breeze when you’re not moving that fast). There are lots of ride share bikes and some ride share scooters available but we decided not to stress about it and just walk. There was always traffic and it just got worse during ‘rush hour’.
  • The more popular restaurants were crowded all the time! Contramar, a fancier seafood restaurant, was always busy, even if it was 3PM!
  • Most of the time we ate at smaller places and they wanted us to pay after we were done eating. Sometimes it was confusing knowing how to order, where to stand in line or even if there was a line, and how to pay!
  • Most of the people who live and work in Mexico City don’t make a lot of money and their rent is surprisingly high! Our Merced tour guide told us that rent is oftentimes as much as a month’s pay (Mex$8,000) for a single bedroom. He told us that tips make up 30% of his take home pay. Tips are not obligatory in Mexico City, but after hearing this, I went from happily tipping nothing or 10% to 15% at every restaurant (and 20% at the fanciest/most attentive restaurant we ate at).

What I really loved about Mexico City:

  • How affordable it was for us
  • Being able to communicate almost all the time with the Spanish I know (rather rusty from not using for 10 years)
  • Being able to walk everywhere (so many little shops, cafes, and restaurants really close to us)

Recommend places to eat and what to get:

  • The Secret Donut Society – such a cool experience. The donut was just okay, but figuring out how to order and find your donut was rather exciting
  • Mog sushi (for a change of pace get some sushi – our favorite that we tried was the Spicy Maguro roll)
  • La Güera Tortas de Chilaquiles (all the sandwiches tasted the same to me but if you order the “bomba” I think it’s a combination sandwich)
  • 5 Hermanos in La Merced (Aisle 9) and get the Longaniza tacos!
  • Moles Dona Balbi in La Merced (close to door 5) has amazing Almond mole and other moles
  • La Gruta for the atmosphere and the Ensalada La Gruta
  • El Vilsito – the gringa tacos are amazing! Don’t forget the avocado salsa and limes.
  • Santa Clara (chain ice cream shops) has amazing ice cream (avoid pistachio)
  • Contramar has amazing tortas (appetizer) and queso flan that is divine!
  • Vips (for late night munching this chain has you covered)
  • El Cardenal has amazing mole
  • Tacos Joven – the adobo taco was amazing!
  • Agua y Sal – we absolutely loved everything we ate here, but especially the plancha frutos del mar

Prior to leaving the states, my partner took out $200 USD worth of pesos just in case and we got a decent exchange rate. Our plan was to use my Charles Schwab account to pull out pesos at a local ATM (they claim no foreign ATM fees for withdrawals in Mexico and indeed I have already received the fee back from my first withdrawal last month).

I pulled out $11.04 USD =Mex$200  on 2/26 the first day, $158.45 USD =Mex$3,000 on Saturday 2/29, and $25.03 USD =Mex$400 on Thursday 3/5
Prior to leaving the states, we bought some peanuts and drinks at the airport = $12.14

The total the two of us spent together was: ~$3100
AirBnB: $715 USD
Airplane Tickets: $1150 USD
Transportation: Mex$2,469.50 ($120 USD) + $25 USD
Food and groceries: $12.14 (Airport Snacks) + Mex$12,891.50 ($626.49 USD)
Entertainment: $190.78 USD (La Merced) + Mex$5,357 ($260.33 USD)
Bathrooms: Mex$25
Misc (gifts, etc): Mex$410

Here is the list of most everything we did and everything we bought with our Mex$ cash and credit cards:

2/26 Wednesday:

  • The secret donut society. #5 Mex$50 cash
  • El Pescadito Taqueria. Tacos de camaron, tacochango, que-sotote, quesadilla, Agua natural. Mex$198 visa Rachel CC ($10.39 USD)
  • Panaderia: mocha donut and lemon cookie donut Mex$16 cash
  • Bosque de Chapultepec
  • Street fruit Mex$35 cash
  • Groceries Mex$76 cash
  • Mog sushi Mex$1017.50 visa Jon CC
  • El Moro Churrerria: Hot chocolate, chocolate bar gift, red velvet seasonal churro, regular churros Mex$173 visa Rachel CC ($9.08 USD)

Uber Mex$134.20 ($7.07 USD)
Uber Mex$37.34 ($1.81 USD)
Uber Mex$46.94

2/27 Thursday

  1. La Güera Tortas de Chilaquiles Mex$230 cash 5 sandwiches (each type of sandwich)
  2. Street vendor: Hamburguesa de piña y hamburguesas de piña y queso Mex$96 cash
  3. Street vendor Churros. 3 regular and one filled with chocolate Mex$26 cash
  4. Corn esquite from street vendor Mex$20 cash
  5. Bares y Pulques Los Insurgentes: Pulque mango y pulque de la casa con smokey and sweet mezcal shots Mex$340 cash

Uber Mex$45 ($2.48 USD)
Uber Mex$37.33
Uber Mex$37.34
Uber Mex$47.26

2/28 Friday

  1. La Merced tour Jon paid in advance $190.78 USD

1. Tacos McTeo. Carne enchilada tacos with cactus, onion and fries.  Location: In the banquetón (the large food hall that runs the perimeter of the market), near Aisle 16.
2. Fried Tamal. Location: Banquetón, between Aisle 14 & 15.
3. 5 Hermanos. Tasty tacos de suadero. Location: Banquetón, at Aisle 9.
4. Moles Dona Balbi. Mole tasting. Location: close to door 5
5. Señora Edith’s Pre-hispanic Ingredients. Chapulines, jumiles and more. Location: Nave Mayor (main fruit and vegetable building), between Aisle 12 & 15.
6. Tacos de Cabeza (Beef Head Tacos!). Location: Outside the Nave Mayor, in the road that runs between the market and the meat section.
7. El Pollo. Quesadillas de Huitlacoche. Location: In the center of the market Aisle.
8.Taquería Arandas. Tacos de cabeza. Location: Calle de Bolívar 15, Centro Histórico
9. Here we finished up with a refreshing drink.

  1. Farmacia Mex$113.50 visa Rachel CC ($5.84 USD)
  2. Mercado San Juan vanilla bottle and vanilla beans Mex$320 cash
  3. Lucha libre Mex$400 cash
  4. Lucha libre bebidas Mex$300 cash
  5. Lucha libre Mex$8 cash propina
  6. Lucha libre Mex$10 baño propina
  7. El Vilsito tacos Mex$400 cash con propina: 2 gringa, 2 milanesa, 2 al pastor con queso, 1 al pastor, 2 pollo con queso, Coca Cola

Uber Mex$55.53
Uber Mex$84.88
Uber Mex$60.13
Uber Mex$58.57

2/29 Saturday

  1. Maxidona 4 filled donuts Mex$134 cash
  2. Prepared mango from street vendor Mex$20 cash
  3. Pizzeria Cancino Cibeles – large Margharita pizza Mex$288 visa Rachel CC ($14.81 USD)
  4. Pizza tip Mex$20 cash
  5. Santa Clara Ice cream double cones: taro and triple chocolate; lemon and spicy mango Mex$210 visa Rachel CC ($10.80 USD)
  6. Cinépolis movie Invisible Man Mex$167 visa Jon CC
  7. Cheddar popcorn and sprite Mex$109 cash

Uber: $162.59 ($8.33 USD)

Uber Mex$171.85

3/1 Sunday

  1. La Otilia GF cafe/bakery Mex$240 visa Rachel CC ($12.34 USD)
  2. Agua Mex$10 cash
  3. Contramar Restaurant: tortas de Atun y calamari, witch fish, pescado a la talla, pan de queso, lemonade, orange refresher, passionfruit water Mex$1634 after tip visa Rachel CC ($84.03 USD)
  4. Turibus Mex$360 cash

3/2 Monday

  1. Bus tickets to archaeological zone round trip Mex$208 cash
  2. Entrance to Teotihuacán Mex$160 cash
  3. Bathroom tip Mex$5 cash
  4. Sparkling lime water Mex$20
  5. La gruta Mex$1525 Jon CC
  6. Cold water Mex$25 cash
  7. Water Mex$14 cash
  8. Chai tea Mex$50 cash Guell cafe
  9. 5:30-6:30pm intermediate pole class free
  10. Vips Mex$657 Rachel CC ($34.31 USD)
  11. Casa de Toño Mex$85 Jon CC
  12. Oxxo 2 waters, apple soda, 2 toilet papers Mex$64.50 cash

Uber Mex$37.34
Uber Mex$165.04
Uber Mex$47.49
Uber Mex$102.41

3/3 Tuesday

    1. Banana flan Mex$26 cash
    2. Pays coranado Mex$276 Rachel CC ($14.39 USD)
    3. En dharma massages 60 minutes with 30 minutes cupping Mex$2800 Rachel CC ($146.22 USD) Mex$500 cash tip
    4. Sabe: Salad of the day, bolognaise, manzanita soda, agua del día Mex$299 Rachel CC ($15.34 USD)
    5. Contramar coconut flan and cheese flan Mex$300 cash
    6. Doble ice creams Santa Clara: pistachio and macadamia; triple chocolate and coffee Mex$206 Rachel CC ($10.74 USD)
    7. Mex$151 cash Taqueria Los Cocuyos: longaniza x2, sesos, cabeza, cachete, Coca Cola
    8. We checked out El Zocalo y Miralto on top of torre Latinoamérica and the cathedral near the zócalo and walked around inside the house of tiles

Uber Mex$37.34
Uber Mex$36.99
Uber Mex$71.82
Uber Mex$42.11


3/4 Wednesday

      1. Zócalo baño Mex$10 cash
      2. Turibus purple line Mex$320 Rachel CC ($16.41 USD)
      3. El cardenal : mole tradicional de pollo, 4 tacos longaniza, 2 flan de queso, limonada x2, naranjado. Mex$742 Rachel CC ($38.69 USD)
      4. Mex$55 cash oxxo waters +small items
      5. Turibus sur verde (already paid)
      6. Hot chocolate and mocha from street vendor Mex$90 cash
      7. Dorilotes 2x from a street vendor Mex$100 cash

Uber Mex$70.85
Uber Mex78.25
Uber Mex$116.65
Uber Mex$59.45
Uber Mex$134.68

3/5 Thursday

      1. Tamales Doña Emi Atole de cereza de manzana y chocolate Mex$45 cash
      2. Tacos Joven- Tacos: adobo, chicharrón, carne con mole verde, papas refritas Mex$76 cash
      3. La Pipope, Taro y refresco manzanita Mex$70 Rachel CC ($3.59 USD)
      4. Museo de chocolate entrance fee Mex$150 cash
      5. Museo de chocolate hot chocolate with milk, hot chocolate with Chile, natural chocolate cacao cake, Mika cake Mex$163 Rachel CC ($8.36 USD)
      6. Museo de cero y museo de Ripley Mex$500 Rachel CC ($26.07 USD)
      7. Oxxo aguas y más bebidas Mex$97 cash
      8. Finca santa Veracruz Cibeles ensalada Cam Mex$56 cash
      9. Agua y Sal Mex$1730 Rachel CC ($88.74 USD)

Uber Mex$38.53
Uber Mex$60.38
Uber Mex$59.03

3/6 Friday

      1. Sabe near our Airbnb $205 cash machaca con huevo y avocado toast
      2. Vanilla extract at the airport $90 cash

Uber Mex$124.21

A Beginner’s Adventures in House Sitting – First Foray

Approximately 16 miles from our house where my partner, our housemate, and I live is the luxury apartment complex where we had our very first house sitting experience. On one of the many hills on the Eastside (East of Seattle), this luxury multi-story apartment complex boasts a spacious and contemporary living space within an upscale neighborhood community. Around 1000 square feet, this apartment felt cozy and just large enough. It may seem odd to house sit just a bus ride away from where we currently live while we still have a house. That may not be the case in 6 months. Our plan is to finish out our lease and then house sit, friend visit, and family crash our way through several months’ worth of living before heading out of the country.

To prepare for this rather interesting house hacking method, I researched the best websites to join and set up our account on Trusted Housesitters. The interface and setup was easy to work with and there were thousands of listings internationally, hundreds in the USA, and many within our own area. Most of the listings don’t go out much farther than 3 months. I log on and check new listings every day, looking to meet our needs come August 1st. We need high-speed internet and space to work. Both of us, my partner and I, work from home. I love dogs, cats, rabbits, goats, etc. I would absolutely love to house sit for a pig or a corgi! I look specifically at how far from the Seattle area the sits are and how many applicants they have as well as length of time and location (also looking in CO and FL). As newbies to the site, we have less credibility than others. We come as a couple. This could be a bonus for some homeowners, at least I hope.

We chose two house sits, one within 20 miles and one in Canada to gain good standing on the site. The first house sit we completed last week and we learned quite a bit about our daily habits. Here is a list of items we forgot to bring with us:

  1. Regal gift card that I had printed and was going to use when we went to see Sonic
  2. Wireless keyboard
  3. Swimming goggles (they have a pool!)
  4. Robe and towel
  5. Soccer ball
  6. Pants (not just leggings or sweat pants) since we went out for a fancy dinner date
  7. Debit card

Because we were staying in town, we continued our daily activities even though we were farther away from some activities. We didn’t take all our life’s items (like a debit card or a towel) that we wouldn’t normally need on a vacation. Except, this wasn’t a vacation.

I brought my all-in-one computer (still quite heavy) so that I had a desktop setup for work. I also brought all the groceries and some food prepped meals with us (not knowing if we’d have enough space in the fridge). I couldn’t find a tea kettle at the apartment and boiled water in a pot every morning for our coffee and tea.

It’s interesting to hop into someone’s life not knowing where the forks are located or if they have towels I’m going to like. I really am attached to the towel I use daily. We lived out of a suitcase plopped onto the floor. If we stayed longer, I would have organized my clothing better, but pulling items off the floor and out of a suitcase is perfectly fine for a few days.

Am I supposed to eat the avocado that’s over-ripening on the counter or should I put it into the fridge? I’m living in someone else’s house with their own preferences for cleaning and organizing and living. We only stayed 6 days, so I wouldn’t think of changing the structure of their life, how their apartment was organized. We did clean the toilets and run a load of linens before we left as well as wiping down the counters and the kitchen floors.

Since we live close to this house we were able to set up an in-person meeting prior to the actual house sit. This helped build good communication and expectations with the owner and her dog’s needs. She also provided a well thought out and detailed house sitting guide that lives in the Trusted Housesitters website.

The other component of house sitting is the pets! I fell in love with their little Min-Pin-Chihuahua mix. She was an absolute cutie! I grew up with larger dogs and it was nice taking care of a little pup. Poor thing had some bladder issues and so I took her out for frequent pee breaks during the day and she would have a few accidents on puppy pads at night. She often would sit curled up on my partner’s lap or huddled next to my side during the day and disappeared under the large expanse of blankets in the bed at night. It’s been many years since I’ve slept with a doggie!

I’m excited for our future adventures house sitting and ecstatic to save on rent and utilities for several months this year.

You can save too! Using this link (my referral link), you can sign up for Trusted Housesitters and save 25% off your yearly membership: https://www.trustedhousesitters.com/refer/RAF286731/

2020 January Goals – Accountability, Check in, and Birthday Freebies!

Financial Independence

First month of the year and I have budgeted $2589 per month. I spent $3006.75 because I prepaid for my flight and half an airBnB for 9 days in Mexico City. I have budgeted $300/month on ‘travel’ and I put $100/month into my Savings goal in Capital One for ‘travel.’ This account currently has $1704.80 so I moved the $940 I spent from that account and back into my general emergency savings fund in Capital One which leaves a balance of $767.14 for travel. I moved the money into emergency savings rather than use the money directly for paying the plane ticket and housing costs because I had some excess cash in my checking account already to pay for these travel expenses. I don’t plan on many more travel costs for the Mexico vacation because I plan to put food costs into my eating out/food budget and anything that isn’t directly travel related into their respective budget categories for the month.

I bought a year’s subscription to Trusted Housesitters, a website where you can find houses to sit or conversely for people to sit your house and watch your pets while you’re away on your own vacation and trip. You can use this link to get 25% off: https://www.trustedhousesitters.com/refer/RAF286731/

I had to renew my driver’s license (cost of $78 cash for my enhanced renewal) which was absorbed into my transportation budget category

I signed my updated will (cost of $30 at Pony Express).

I still managed to earn $120.23 this month that wasn’t related to my business.

I continue to spend more than I want to for food – both eating out and groceries. I only spent $46.41 eating out (we went out many times but it was covered by mystery shopping). I spent $479.20 on groceries. I have been keeping a close eye on what I spend for food, but we often splurge at the grocery store for unnecessary items (ice cream) or new and exciting items (Thai chili Doritos). I do save money by going to Grocery Outlet and combing through my favorite squished cans section and making bulk meals with ingredients like rice and dried beans. Part of the issue is my partner and I both love trying new foods and eating a variety of different meals. We don’t eat the same thing every week. I did spend an average of $763/month on food last year, so just reducing that number down closer to $500 is a win and will end up saving me nearly $3000 in a year. Ultimately my conservative budget of $400 is not going to be easy or very realistic for our current lifestyle (I buy most of the groceries and half of the bill when we eat out).

One way I decrease my spending is to not pay money for what I will already spend money on. For instance, I like to eat out several times per month and I get to do it for free or nearly free through Mystery Shopping. We went out to eat 3x for mystery shops which cost me $19.86 plus my time. I also recently was hired as a trade at one of my dance studios where I get paid to clean the studio in class credit. I have already saved up enough for 6 classes! We are also working on reducing our rent and housing expenses to $0 after our lease is up in July with house sitting. Finally, it was my birthday last month and I was able to get a free specialty pancakes from Ihop ($8.99 value), a free coffee from Starbucks (a $6.77 value), and a free pastry from Panera (a $2.49 value)

My business earnings for January were $546.24 (as some payments were pending and didn’t clear until February so the next month will show a much higher earning). I’m not sure what I will be paying in taxes so I will plan to set aside at least 30% of all that money and put it into my savings account at BECU, to save around $500 to have in the account at all times to pay for expenses. I did spend $27.75 on a bus card refill as I sometimes use the bus to get to clients’ houses when it’s snowing. A bus costs $2.75 for unlimited rides within a 2-hour window so I can usually pay once for a round trip. I opened up a BECU business checking account at the end of last year to use for my business financials because they have ATMs (I sometimes get paid in cash) and they don’t charge fees.


Fitness

I started stretching every day in late December and have continued every day (minus one day where I was in a pole class). I follow this Blogilates video and spend anywhere from 10-15 minutes doing these stretches after  completing her 2020 challenge! After finishing this challenge I went back to the 100 abs a day challenge from last year and am currently on day 15. It’s amazing the noticeable progress I can see with 6 weeks of daily targeted stretching! I can almost place my palm on the floor when trying to touch my toes (from just barely touching the floor with my fingers before). I’m not sure my pancake or splits stretches have made much progress but I’m absolutely thrilled with my hamstring flexibility progress! I have also unfortunately mildly injured my right upper leg/lower butt? I’m not sure what I injured exactly as normal walking or bending over doesn’t make it hurt, but pushing my right hip up and out makes it flare up right below my butt and when I do the pancake stretch it hurts in that area. Now I cannot stretch my pancake but do the legs one at a time and gently stretch that side.

Here are my fitness stats for the month:

  1. Biking: 10 miles
  2. Pole classes: 3

Writing

  • I sent out a 2019 summary and 2020 goals newsletter
  • I signed up to write a short story for my writing group’s next anthology (haven’t written it yet)
  • I sold 12 print books from my inventory
  • I ran a giveaway and gave away 2 Donuts Books, 2 of Nichole’s Book of Practical Things, and 2 Vanessa’s Book of Awesome Things
  • I read and reviewed 2 Indie books

Don’t forget to come visit me this February at the following event:

Come see me and get all of my novels this Sunday from 12PM – 1PM at the Enso Center Winter Marketplace! The event goes from Saturday to Sunday, but I will only be there for a limited time on Sunday. All four of my novels will be on sale for just $10 each.


Since my partner and I plan to move out of our house at the end of June and stay with friends, family, or in house sits we have to par down our belongings. This means that I have lots of items to sell and donate! I have to say goodbye to my glass jar and box hoard. We are Tidying Up!

Here is a picture of my homemade (from a gluten free squished bag chocolate baking mix) and cheesecake frosting with Taro powder as coloring that I piped myself!


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

Local Event Alert! Author’s Corner at Enso Center Winter Marketplace in Redmond, WA 2/09/2020 12PM – 1PM

Winter Arts Marketplace
Come out to the Enso Center in Redmond, WA for a community showcase of local artists, craftsmen, authors, and entrepreneurs. Two full days of specialty sales.

PLUS! Community art show from local artists.

Check out www.ensocenter.org for more information and RSVP on the Facebook event page.

Come see me and get all of my novels this Sunday from 12PM – 1PM at the Enso Center Winter Marketplace! The event goes from Saturday to Sunday, but I will only be there for a limited time on Sunday. All four of my novels will be on sale for just $10 each.

GENERAL ADMISSION
Free entry!
11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

 

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:

Fitness

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.

Finances

  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

Writing

  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

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