Tuesday, June 30, 2015

30 Days of Blogging

I Made it! 

Yes!!! Go Me. It's the last day of June and I couldn't be more excited about it. So for those who don't know and that should be most of you since I didn't really publicize it too much. My personal writing goal for the month of June was to publish a blog post everyday. And I did it. Today marks day 30 and I am so happy that's it's over. This month has been an amazing one. I've written about some amazing topics and hit some amazing milestones for my blog. I kicked off the month celebrating the love of my life with this post. I bared my heart well really the heart of my 15 year old self and shared the love I have for my hubby. To be honest I really can't think of one thing in particular that inspired me to write a blog post every day for 30 days. I think once I started writing I just kept thinking to myself let's not just stop here. Or I would say to myself let's try this again tomorrow and before I knew it I was challenging myself to writing a blog post everyday. I'm glad I did it. It renewed something in me. I enjoyed sharing my insights and perspective on life.

Thank You

I am so grateful for each and every reader and visitor. I want to personally thank each and everyone of you that read an article and left me a comment or special word of encouragement whether on the blog or on my FB or Twitter accounts. Thank You! You totally rock. I appreciate your support so much. It means the absolute most to me. I really do mean it when I say please leave me a comment if you enjoyed a post or relate in anyway. I do want to hear your stories too. Please feel free to share.

What's Next?

Glad you asked. :) I am establishing a blogging schedule. Yes, me the girl who hates planning and budgeting and gets hives from calendars I am putting a line in the sand and setting up a blogging schedule. I'm committing to you my readers because you guys are awesome and I want to give you quality content on a consistent basis. Without further ado...here you go!

Mrs. Kaye Writes Blogging Schedule
You can expect new blog posts from me on the following days:

Tuesdays - Thursdays - Sundays

**Anything over and above will be a bonus post

Thank you again for reading it really does mean the world to me. And as I said leave me a comment I would love to hear which blog post of my 30 days of blogging inspired, touched, encouraged or enraged you.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Event Recap: Unstuck 2015

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend an amazing event called "Unstuck" hosted by my church H.O.P.E.'s House. I shared in my post here yesterday that I had an awesome encounter with a sister after the conference but I wanted to share a few nuggets that I got from each of the 4 sessions that I went to. Hope you enjoy!

Our lead Pastor and founder of the Unstuck conference, Andrea Humphrey, kicked things off with a lighthearted song that would become the anthem of the day at least for me. She had us all stand up and sing along to Natasha Bedingfield's song, "Unwritten". I personally love this song and was excited that she chose it. However this time I actually listened to the lyrics and a few things resonated with me. One I now understood that my story is my own, that this life is my own and that no one else could live it for me. No one else can speak the words I have been given or write them for that matter. It's my responsibility. Secondly, my favorite line of that song is when she sings, "Feel the rain on your skin, No one else can feel it for you." That's so true. I have to feel and know for myself the pain and joy of each experience. This is my life. I can't pawn off my hard work, preparation or achievements to anyone. I must own them and live them. Lastly I heard possibility in this song. There's so much that is unwritten. There's so much more coming. There's so much that I haven't seen or heard nor have others. This was such a great declaration to begin the conference. Pastor Dre as we call we affectionately call her, went on to share how she came up with the idea for the conference and the key things she wanted us to take away. One of those things is how preparation is essential to our success. She even rewarded those who prepared with gift cards. She gave one sister a gift card for bringing her resume to the Career Strategy session. She gave some to those who traveled the furthest and those who paid for people to attend. Her point was made even clearer with her actions. If you are prepared when an opportunity arises then you will be successful.

Next I attended a session on financial strategy conducted by Ese Akpovi, PMP, CPA. I know her and she's so thorough and legit. I was excited for this session since my hubby and I are on our Journey to become Debt Free by May 2018 and I want to absorb as much information about managing my finances properly. One of the things Ese shared was that sometimes we STUCK when money takes on the form a person rather than it's original purpose as a tool. This concept was mind blowing for me. I never realized that I could be treating money like a person. If it's a tool then it's something that you can utilize to help you manage your life but if it's a person then it's used to gain acceptance, fill gaps in the past, console or provide therapy or change people. She also talked about the importance of managing your money so that you can become a master over it. However if you can manage your money then how you master it and if you don't measure you money you can't manage nor can your grow it. She did provide some great solutions and helped us understand the purpose of money as well as dispel some common myths about the rich like they drive expensive cars. It was a very sobering presentation that was founded on facts and principles.

Stacy Andrews a celebrity make up artist with over 18 years experience led the next session I attended. Her take on Image was refreshing and before sharing glam tips she made sure to stress the importance of loving yourself and thanking your body for all that it does for you each day. It may sound a bit silly but it made sense to me. When was the last time I said thank you for my blinking eyes. I really can't remember ever saying thank you to God or being grateful in general for all the many functions of my body and appreciating who I am and how I am made. This is an area where we get STUCK surrounding our image and s Stacy also shared the top 20 things every woman should have in her wardrobe regardless of age, race, size and preferred style of clothing. She walked us through a full make up tutorial live on one of the lucky attendees during the session. She also showed us some simple ways to achieve highlighting and contouring without looking like we were headed to battle with our war paint. She even dispelled some popular myths floating around YouTube. My favorite part of the session were the tips on hair care and skin care. She knocked it out of the park and made things so simple.

Lastly was the session I attended for married women only on relationships. This was a much needed tune-up for me. I love my hubby and I love our marriage but regardless of how great it is there are areas that could use some improvement but more importantly there are areas in my life that need improvement and this session really brought it to light. Nina Stewart who co-leads the marriage ministry at our church with her husband spent a nice chunk of the session going over the differences between husbands and wives and our needs. Now most of this stuff I remember somewhat from our marriage preparation classes but some I forgot. However in some instances since I've been married for a little bit I have more experience so some things speak to me in new ways. My main takeaway was that as a wife I really have some much influence in my husband's life because of my position. And I could use that influence for good or evil the choice is up to me. I could use that influence to encourage and speak life or to destroy his ego and tear him down. My goal is to uplift him and encourage him and do my best to meet his needs as much as humanly possible. I want our marriage to go the distance but there is work to be done and it doesn't start with him it starts with me.

Overall the conference was a successful so many women were encouraged and touched by the sessions. I spoke to several people that were really blessed by what took place. I know my life was made better by attending and I look forward to the next one. Leave me a comment below and as always thanks for reading.

Stay Tuned for details for Unstuck 2016. You don't want to miss it!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Grateful for My Church Family

I love how the body of Christ works. When the bible says that the Lord sets every member of the body as he sees fit or as it pleases him (1 Cor. 12:18), I truly believe that and I feel I saw the body of Christ in action yesterday. Yesterday I went to an amazing conference called "Unstuck" which I will be sharing an event recap on the blog tomorrow. The event was so amazing. I heard so much great knowledge from experts in the areas of finance, image and relationships but again I will share more on that later.

I'm always shocked to see how God will move in my life when I least expect it. After the conference I had an amazing encounter with one sister who really encouraged and uplifted me in ways I didn't know I needed. This particular woman spoke words of encouragement to an area I had been really low in lately. She spoke to my beauty. She called me beautiful. She told me that every part of me was beautiful and she glorified God for how he made me. She looked me in my eyes and told me I was beautiful and I received it completely. I've heard it all before but this time something took root deep in my heart. Yes I know I am a beautiful girl. I'm not blind. I see it. However lately I struggled in this area of really believing it and walking in confidence in this area. I've had so much pain in my past which I attributed to my beauty. Her words ministered to a place in my heart so deep. Then after affirming my beauty she spoke to me about the power of gratitude and living in the moment. I can't share all of it but needless to say I was brought to tears. The very things she talked about were things I wanted to learn and had been praying that God would reveal to me. As I shared the other day in my post here, although the truth about the journey is that it gets tough I am so glad that the God I serve is faithful to meet my needs and give me exactly what I need to make it through every journey I come across in life.

I'm grateful for my church family because they are truly amazing people. Although this is mostly directly to my home church, H.O.P.E.'s House since they have really poured into me over the last 9 years of my life. I'm so much better because of the people I serve alongside. I have to give honor to my pastors Charles and Andrea Humphrey because they are the bomb dot com. They have blessed me so much with their teachings and with the example they set with their lives. I am also grateful for the body of Christ at large. Some many amazing people worldwide of different colors and different tongues. We are the church. It's not a building it's us. Everyone of us who professes the name of Jesus Christ. We are the church. So family I'm grateful for you too.

I hope you are enjoying your Sunday evening. I'm about to cook dinner and then prepare for my 4 day work week. Woot Woot! Please leave me a comment sharing what you are grateful for and as always thanks for reading!!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Start, Begin, Try, Do It...Now

I was having lunch with a friend the other day and we were discussing our lives and important changes we both wanted to make with respect to starting businesses and changing careers. In the moment I said that I was frustrated that I hadn't done more planning because it's summer and I should have a rough idea of my goals for Fall and Winter. She listened and then told me that it was okay. She said that sometimes you can't do a bunch of planning sometimes it's more important to just start. I took it all in for a sec and felt relieved. I'm not a planner by nature and one of the things I keep hearing is that if you want to be successful then you need to have a plan. Her words provided me with so much relief and comfort because they released me from feeling like I had to do this one thing in order to start. In many ways I have already started the journey to start my business and change careers. Just because I can't see the fruit of my labor doesn't mean that the seed wasn't planted. I encourage you to start, begin, try, do it...now!

Anywho I'm off at a conference, learning how to move forward in some key areas of my life. Leave me a comment down below. I would really like to hear from you and as always thanks for reading.

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Truth about the Journey

I'm going to be real honest here. Making a change in your life, any change for that matter sometimes sucks. Don't get me wrong it's worth it but sometimes it just sucks. I know not really inspirational but stick with me. This morning I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I literally awoke during a dream that wasn't bad or good just interesting but I wanted to see how it ended. It was in the middle of my sleep cycle so when I was abruptly woken up I felt really groggy. My head was spinning and I just knew that if I didn't kick myself in the pants and snap out of it then yesterday would repeat itself all over again. I had a crazy day at work yesterday and as a result my emotions were a bit frazzled and although it's Friday I feel sort of blah. Then my mind started churning as it normally does this early in the AM. I started thinking about how the journey I am on right now sort of feels like a long road trip. I should really say journeys because I have quite a few,

The first journey is my debt reduction journey where my hubby and I are working to eradicate $45k worth of debt in 35 months. The next journey is to make the switch from employee to entrepreneur in the next 1-2 years and the last switch is a bit complex as I am trying to break destructive patterns and habits in my life that will prevent me from being successful. To help you understand I will share a few of those patterns. The first pattern is playing the victim. I do this so much. Maybe not externally but definitely internally. I replay situations over and over in my head and I am never at fault just everyone else. That's wrong guys!!! I'm not perfect and the fact that I think that in my mind is not okay. The next thing is blaming others for my station in life such as my parents, teachers, God, friends, job and even myself for situations that were beyond my control. The blame has to be accurately shifted to fall where appropriate. I am to blame for where I am in life but that also means that I can change where I am in life as well. Lastly making excuses for not pursuing greatness and not pushing past roadblocks. I actually made a YouTube video about pushing past roadblocks which you can view here. I make a lot of excuses for not pursuing greatness such as timing, lack of resources, lack of experience, lack of support, etc., etc., etc. The list goes on but at some point you have to say that's enough. You are either going to be great or you're not. Simply put.

Back to the road trip analogy though. I felt as thought whenever I thought about these different journeys I was on, the more I felt I was on a road trip. I have a destination in mind and I've set out on the road but it's going to take some time to get there. If you're like me then you've packed snacks, great music, books on tape (OK audible but whatever), you've also got money for gas, food and the occasional hotel but your goal is to just get there. However you forget that you have to make stops along the way. Like eventually you will run out of gas if you don't stop and refuel. And you have to be strategic about where you stop otherwise you could be stranded on a long stretch of road with no gas station for miles if you don't plan. Although you might have just a little less than 1/2 tank left it might make sense to stop now just in case the next gas station is further than expected. Or you get tired and need to rest or take a break from the road. Sometimes you just need life's little distractions to help you recharge.

Well today is that day that I need a pit stop and I am confident that my heavenly Father will meet that need today. He always does. If you are in this place and need a pick me up. Take a moment and breathe. Remember that you are on a journey. Remember that it takes time to see and make improvements in your life. Recognize you just might need to be refueled for the next stretch of road. Leave me a comment down below and let me know what journey you are on and how that's going. I would love to hear from you and as always thanks for reading.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Racism in the 1st Grade

The first time I was called the N-word I was 6 years old in the first grade. I was a student at Campo Elementary School in Mrs. Lyons class. She was the best. In her class we cast votes to see who would win the 1992 Presidential race, Bush or Clinton. I was so happy I picked the right guy. I remember coming in that morning she had our class tallies on the board. Those who picked Bush were far greater than those who picked Clinton. She quieted us all down and we listened over the intercom as the principal announced the winner. Something in me leaped. I guessed right! I had some fun times in her class. My mom loved Mrs. Lyons arts and crafts projects; I remember my mom kept the gold painted pine cone wreaths I made for many years. To be honest we just lined up the pine cones, Mrs. Lyons hot glued them and spray painted. They were pretty dope though. However along with the high times there were some low times.

I still remember the day like it was yesterday although the names are quite fuzzy. All I know is I had a best friend in 1st grade who's name escapes me now. We were inseparable. We sat near each other in class and hung out on the playground. I also had a crush on him but would never admit it. In fact I was playing match matcher. My best friend ironically had a crush on the other Amber in our class. Her name I do remember. I would give him advice on how to go to talk to her. I remember I told him to buy her Lisa Frank stuff to show how much he really cared. Who didn't like Lisa Frank? Anyway this one morning during recess we're on the blacktop watching Amber on the monkey bars plotting my friend's big move when his big brother (a 6th grader) intrudes on our conversation with his 3 friends. They immediately start to tease him for hanging out with me. They say that he likes me and immediately my friend says "Gross! No way she's just my friend." Then they start to say he likes a dark girl. Then they start to say I'm an n-word and he's an n-word lover. I was so confused. I didn't really know what the word meant at the time but it hurt my feelings so much. I wanted to tell my friend's brother that we were just friends but the words wouldn't come out. I wanted to say we were trying to figure how he can tell the other Amber that he liked her but I don't think they would listen. The fact is my friend got so mad he stormed off into the classroom upset. To be honest I don't know what I did in the moment. However later I do remember shedding hot tears at my desk and doing my best to mask my pain from my friends. Why did that word hurt so much? What did it mean? These were all questions swarming around my little head.

It wasn't until I was 7 years old in the 2nd grade that I found out what that word meant. I came home from school one day and asked my dad about culture. We were studying cultures in class and our teacher said that you define a people group or culture by the food, customs and beliefs. I just remember leaving school feeling so empty. All my friends could say that they were Polish, French, Mexican, German, etc and they knew their food, customs and beliefs. I felt so left out. So when I asked my dad I'm like is soul food our food and what are our customs? Are we African? Are we American? Where are we from? He explained that we were American. Soul Food and the other American food was our food. I wasn't pleased with the answer but I accepted it. Somewhere in the conversation I asked him about the N-word. He immediately was jovial and said that's what we call one another as a term of endearment but don't let anyone call you that. If they do well then you have permission to fight them. This was the only time I was given permission to fight otherwise my Dad's motto was "You don't start fights you finish them." Needless to say I got into a lot of fights in elementary. As I was thanking my Dad for the talk, I said something to the affect “Alright my n-word” which didn't sit well with him. I got a whole other lecture after that. You can imagine how confused I was after that. I guessed the n-word shouldn't be used period.

I share this story for those who may relate and for those who may not be aware. Kids can be mean but I honestly believe racism and discrimination are taught. Those 6th graders didn't learn that terminology on their own or its use. It's unfortunate but that wasn't the last time I was called the n-word. I think if I had understood what that word meant prior to being called it, I probably would have been more wounded. Those are my thoughts but of course I can't know for sure.

First and foremost above any other label I consider myself a child of God. That's how I see myself that's my default association, before calling me a woman, Black or African-American, a wife, a daughter, a sister or a friend. I call myself a child of God. It wasn't always this way. In fact I went 19 years referring to myself as a black girl or black young woman but when I accepted Christ into my life I acknowledged that I was mind, body, soul and spirit. This shell of a body I was in was not who I was or what I was but merely the vessel I was placed into to maneuver through life. I know that probably sounds wacky but I believe it to my core. Now don't get me wrong I'm not marking “other” on legal documents and filling in "Child of God" as my race or ethnicity. I'm just saying that's how I see myself.  Trust me I know that I am a woman and that I am Black. That's just not who I am if that makes sense. I have wanted to share that story for a while now and I'm curious to know yours. Please share your thoughts and feedback below in the comments and as always thanks for reading.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

10 Ways We Decreased Our Electric Bill

This post was inspired by two of my friends on Facebook who drastically reduced their electric bills and in turn gave me hope that I could do the same. Over the last 2 billing cycles (our bill comes every other month) we have kept our electric bill around $111. That makes me so happy because our bill was normally $160 which made no sense. The lowest we ever got it was $130 so when I saw a $50 savings on not just 1 bill but 2 bills I knew what we were doing was totally working and had to share these awesome tips with you because who couldn't use an extra $50. So to give you perspective, below are the last 3 bills we received and the amount so you can see the savings.

$169.26 - Feb 2015
$109.39 - April 2015
$111.32 - June 2015 (It went up $2 but compared to Feb that's still good!)

Here our our 10 ways we decreased our electric bill:

Use Power Strips
We have our TV, game systems, computers and chargers all on power strips naturally but more recently I put our lamps and smaller household appliances on power strips too. I believe it has saved us a lot. Also the key to using power strips is turning the power strip off when the items are not in use. I now make this part of my nightly routine before I go to bed. I turn everything off at night with exception for the stove, refrigerator, washer, dryer, modem and phone chargers. Only exception is my hubby's computer sometimes he's doing things and has to let it run overnight. I don't like it but it's not often.

Unplug Everything
This is so key. I don't unplug the power strips but if I have small items that aren't on a power strip I make sure to unplug them at night or when I'm not home. Even your microwave, I can't unplug ours because it's over the stove and it would be a hassle to get a stool and plug it in every time we needed to use it. However if you have a microwave consider unplugging it because even when it's not in use it's still drawing power to keep the clock on. Same with any electronic that displays time even when off or standby mode, just unplug it to save energy.

Use Natural Light
Whenever possible I try to use natural light. Especially since it's summer and the days are long. There is no reason to use the lights or a lamp during the day. I open the blinds and use the light for as long as I can. I will admit this took some time to adjust to, I had to practice not turning on lights during the day.

Turn off of the Lights
Another one that I didn't realize how bad I was at until we starting trying to do it. We find that in the mornings or night when we are trying to get ready we have the most lights on because we're in the kitchen trying to make breakfast, then going into the room to grab something and then sitting in the living room for devotions. It can be a mess and we don't have kids. Now we just turn off the lights if we leave a room. Sometimes we do forget but overall we are a lot better.

Wash Clothes in Cold Water
Our apartment has a washer and dryer which is awesome but sometimes it's not because of our bill. Recently I have been washing as much as I can in cold water. I read that using hot water uses more energy since the water has to be heated. I've also decreased the frequency that I wash I my clothes. I would wash weekly now it's every other week.

Limit  Dryer Use
This is helpful in the summer since it gets really hot where we live. Using the dryer usually adds fuel to the fire. I don't use the dryer except for items that are huge like linens, blankets and towels. I will air dry everything else. I want to invest in a clothes drying rack so that I can eliminate the dryer completely except for the aforementioned items. I feel like I would need a clothesline in order to air dry those over sized items.

Choose Air Dry Option on Dishwater
I honestly didn't realize I had the heated dry button turned on but I feel like there hasn't been much difference in our dishes. They are dry when we open the dishwasher and that's the most important part.

Bundle Up
When it's cold my hubby is the first one to turn one heater (sorry babe but it's true). This past winter, yes I know I live in California and it doesn't get as cold as the east coast but when 75 degrees is your normal and it's 50 or 60 degrees that's cold to us. Don't judge us please. We don't know any better. :) Anyway, I challenged my hubby to bundle up before turning on the heat. If he wasn't warmer in 30 minutes then we could turn on the heat. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't but I'm proud of us for trying and the times we used blankets and thick socks to stay warm saved us money.

Open the Windows
Okay so we may not know about the cold weather but boy do we know about the hot weather. We had a heat wave the winter before last so yeah we're used to hot weather but sometimes it can be unbearable. We do our best to open the windows and pull in a breeze. Lately we've been lucky but once we hit the dead of summer it's all standstill. Our goal is to use our AC only on the days that are ridiculously hot like over 95 degrees. In the meantime we open all the windows and blinds, pull back the curtains and let the air circulate in our apartment. This summer we are planning to buy a fan so if we do turn on the AC we can use the fan to circulate the air all over since some areas in our apartment tend to get cooler faster.

Understand Your Electric Bill and Rates
This last tip takes some research and will vary depending on where you live and the company that manages your electricity. In my area there are a few different ways we could be charged, one is dependent upon our use and the other is dependent upon the time of day we use our electricity. My husband and I are charged in a way that has nothing to do with the time of day we use our electricity. It's about how much we use and not when we use it. It took some time to look it up on our electric company's website. If you know the way you are charged then that can help determine if you should use your electricity differently. I was shocked. I thought for sure doing laundry at night opposed to the morning would help our bill. It didn't, there is a special rate option you can apply for if you are at home during the day and meet other eligibility requirements however we don't qualify. 

Here's a Bonus Tip!!! 

Contact Your Electric Company
I've done this in the past and asked for a breakdown to see what room in the house uses the most electricity. They've gotten so specific as to tell me which socket had the most energy being pulled from it. The Electric Company always has tips and ways to help you save through programs, rebates and information on best practices. Contact them today to see how you can save.

That's it! That's how we have maintained a $50 savings on our electric bill. My next goal is to get our bill under $100. If I do that I will be so impressed with myself. Let me know down in the comments if you have other tips that weren't mentioned to help others save on their Electric Bill. I'd love to hear from you and as always thanks for reading!!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Our Staycation in Review

In my post, Anniversary on a Budget, I shared how me and the Mr. were going to have a staycation versus a vacation for our 4 year wedding anniversary since we are really trying to pay down our debts. Read post here about our crazy goal to be Debt Free by May 2018. Our Staycation is officially over and I have to say that it was surprisingly amazing. I had the best time hanging out with my hubby. We felt like newlyweds on our honeymoon all over again. Although we were at home it didn't feel like it since we didn't have to work. We usually are out of the house by 8:30am or 9am (we work in entertainment so don't judge us by the late time) and we don't get home until after 7:30pm or 8pm most days. It was so refreshing to sleep in and not have to be anywhere right away. We stayed up late too. We both are night owls so it works for us but it was nice to just not have to be anywhere. I shared a few posts of what we did during our staycation and linked them under the specific days before if you care to read. With that said I'm not going to recap the activities really just what we spent and where we spent it. As usually most of our money was on food.

Here's how much we spent?
  • Day 1 - $15.75
    • 2 Metro Tickets - Roundtrip - $7 
    • Distant Worlds Concert - LA Live (I'm not counting the concert tickets since they were purchased months ago but if you must know it was approximately $220.) - $8.75 - We bought drinks (Bottled Water and a Sprite)
  • Day 2 - $45.51
    • Dinner at Chick-fil-a $20.01
    • Movie - Jurassic World $25.50

  • Day 3 - $64.17
    • Beach Day
      • $12 for parking
      • $4 for bottled water 
    • Dinner at True Food Kitchen - $48.17 (The first and the last time we will be having dinner there.)

  • Day 4 - $15.50
    • Desserts from Buttercelli- $15.50 (So Yummy. Vegan and Gluten Free too!)

  • Day 5 - $0

  • Day 6 -$0

Our Grand Total = $140.93 or $35.23 for each year we've been married...lol.

I'm so surprised that we kept it under $200. That's good for us. I will definitely do another staycation, it was so worth it and stress free. We had a blast and feel like we really celebrated our love. I'm grateful for all the well wishes. I love this man and our love and can't wait to see what the future holds. Alright so the secret is out, this is what we spent on our staycation. Leave me a comment and let me know if you think this is reasonable. I'd love to hear from you and any tips you might have to help us save on future staycations and as always thanks for reading!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Our Top Reasons for Becoming Debt Free Now

It occurred to me that I didn't go into complete detail on why we want to get out of debt in my post, Debt Free by May 2018. I shared our process of going through our budget and finding areas that we could decrease spending and increase debt repayment but I didn't really give the why. My husband and I owe just over $45,000 worth of debt. Our debt is comprised of mainly student loans and a loan from our recent time share purchase. We have been making additional payments to each of our of student loans for the last 2 years but finally decided earlier this month that we would make a plan and aggressively attack our debts. Based on the debt avalanche method which I talked about in this post, we should be out of debt in 35 months, that's just under 3 years. Today I'll share why we decided to become debt free and why now?

First and foremost it's our belief that we should be lenders not borrowers. Plain and simple we want to make ourselves available to assist those in need. To give when the opportunity is presented to us whether this is to our local church, charity, a friend in need, a crowdfunding campaign for a special project or just being a blessing to someone else. It pains us to see a need and not be able to meet it or have to wait to give because we're busy paying debt. We want to have the ability to give when we feel like it and timely. This belief comes from scripture since we are Christians and believe the bible is true and applicable to our lives today. Being in debt does not allow us to lend or give the way we would like to but instead makes us a slave to the lender, see Proverbs 22:7.

Next would be our belief that we should owe no man anything but love and at this time we owe quite a few people. Again another belief that's rooted in scripture, see Romans 13:8. Debt carries a certain weight to it. I know that when I owe someone, that what I receive in the form of income is not completely mine. I have to pay each of my creditors what is due to them prior to paying myself. I love this scripture because it really supports that fact that we shouldn't take on debt. Meaning if you can't afford it then maybe you shouldn't go into debt for it. I wish I would have caught on to this principle much earlier but I get it now. I should only have to owe people love not money.

The next 4 reasons are somewhat tied together, we want to get out of debt in order to prepare for parenthood, home ownership, emergency planning and our personal projects. It's our belief that the next 15-20 years will be some of the busiest and yet rewarding seasons of our lives. We'll be raising little ones, advancing further in our careers and passions and setting roots down. It's our hope that we'll be building a legacy for our family and that will require us being debt free. We may not be debt free when we start our family but we'll definitely be debt free shortly before or after our little one arrives. Our hope is that we can take our funds and invest in our family's future and not spend time paying off unnecessary debt with tons of interest. We may not have a house by the time we're debt free but if we apply our same payment method to our savings that we did to our debt then in the same time we could have more than enough to make a hefty down payment on a home or possibly buy a house with cash. I know you probably think we're crazy but I think it's possible.

I felt this was important to share since I will be providing you with updates on our journey to becoming debt free. I plan to share the good, the bad and the ugly but you have to know why we are doing this. Now what you know our top reasons we encourage you to support us and cheer us on. We're in this for the long haul and for those of you who are visual like me it's a recap our of top reasons in list form.

Our Top Reasons for Becoming Debt Free Now

  • We want to be Lenders and Givers
  • We don't want to owe any man anything but Love
  • We want to be able to save for our children
  • We want to be able to save for a house
  • We want to be able to save for emergencies
  • We want to be able to save for important personal projects 

I'd like to hear from you, if you have committed to becoming debt free then what's your why? If you haven't then what's stopping you? Leave me a comment down below and as always thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

I'm grateful for My Dads

I'm grateful for my Dads. The 3 men who I call Dad. First I am grateful for my father who's face I share. We really do have the same face and eyes, we're just slightly different skin tones. I'm grateful for his presence in my life. The older I get the more I realize how alike we are. We laugh at our own jokes, we have similar perspectives on life and we're so laid back. He hasn't always been in my life but I'm grateful that for the first time in a long time we are living in the same county. I've seen him more times in the last few weeks then I have in years and that's so awesome. He recently got out of the army and moved back to LA to go to film school. I have a film degree so needless to say we have a lot in common. I love my dad so much. I get my creativity and unique outlook on life from him. He's not afraid to be different or just be him. He's kind and passionate. He's also one of my biggest supporters. He believes in me so much.

Next would be my Dad who raised me. He came in my life when I was just a little girl. He taught me so much but two things that stand out to me today are, 1. Respect and 2. Self Worth. He was very insistent that as children we respect our elders. We had to say, Yes Sir, Yes Ma'am and call people Mr. and Mrs. There was no shortcuts. Even if adults insisted we call them by their nickname or first name it was always to be proceeded with a Mr. or a Mrs. Also we were expected to greet adults with a hello and how are you? We were taught to make eye contact and heed their directions. I think that was one of the more important things I was taught because it helped me navigate through life. It gave me courage to speak to everyone no matter their race, age or position in life and it opened doors because I was the polite and respectful kid that everyone wished was theirs. And my dad also taught me that no thing in this world would equate to who I was. Things and Stuff couldn't make me or break me and that I had every opportunity and possibility to succeed as the next person because of who I was. Even when we had no money and no place to live my Dad would still say that we weren't poor or no one was better than us. He showed us what was important in life and those things could seldom be bought. I'm grateful for how he went without so that we could have a better life.

Last but not least would be my dad in law. He's such an awesome man who I have so much respect and love for. I remember shortly after my hubby proposed, Dad was visiting and we were on our way to the movies. I just remember that it was around Valentine's Day and we were talking about flowers for the wedding and as we were about to pass a flower shop, Dad told my hubby to stop the car. I thought maybe he wanted to ask them a questions. He got out and went into the shop and came out with one long stemmed rose. He came over to the passenger side door and handed me the rose. He said, "Thank you for agreeing to be my daughter. You have made me a happy man." I started to cry. I felt so much love and I knew in that moment that not only was I marrying the man of my dreams but into an amazing family.

Today I am so blessed to have these men in my life. They have made an imprint on my life that I will never forget. Today I honor them and wish them a very Happy Father's Day. I know they are all waiting for the day to be grandpas to our future kids and remind me every chance they get. One day but not today and most likely not tomorrow but one day. Thanks to those who read my posts and leave me comments I appreciate you so much. Leave me a comment today detailing an important lesson your dad taught you or if you're dad isn't around or you never got to meet him something an important father figure taught you. Hope you enjoyed the post and as always thanks for reading.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Day 4 of Our Staycation

Day 4 of our Staycation was a little bit back to the usual but in a good way. We did get to sleep in until about 9:30 am. Both of us were really tired from the beach yesterday. I think being out in sun all day zapped our energy. Well we both got up and lazed about the house all morning then we got dressed and headed to our first destination, my company picnic. We had a blast (not sure why but I like this word a lot but you probably noticed that already). I love my company so much. I work for a large entertainment company and this year is a huge milestone anniversary so they went over and above with the decorations, food, drinks, snacks, prizes, door prizes, games and entertainment. I would share pictures but I sort of want to keep that part of my life private which is the reason I'm not sharing the name but if you friend me on social media you'll find out easily. 

Then after the picnic we decided to go "thrift-ing" or "antique-ing" as I like to call it. My husband really enjoys video games. Okay that's an understatement he absolutely loves them and recently he's been asking if we could go to garage sales, GoodWill or other thrift stores to find old Nintendo game consoles and games. It was so cute. He was so excited about finding a particular system that he wanted to go look for a garage sale on a weekday in the afternoon in our neighborhood. I'm like, "Honey slow down it's probably best if we wait for the weekend. Plus who has a garage sale on a weekday in the afternoon?". Yup that's my hubby but I love him.

We spent most of our afternoon looking for old games. We went to 2 GoodWill stores, a thrift outlet and a local video game shop called Game Dude. Although we didn't find anything we had so much fun just looking at all the random stuff that ends up at the GoodWill and thrift stores. It's amazing what people will give away these days. We also found some really cool retro games at Game Dude that brought back old memories. If you're a game lover and live in the LA area you should check out Game Dude they have new and used games and game systems. They have everything. 

Then we were bad stopped by our favorite bakery, Buttercelli, that has delicious gluten free and vegan items. I'm actually about to indulge in my vegan vanilla cupcake right after this post goes up and my hubby will be enjoying his cranberry loaf cake. Yum! (Don't knock it until you try it.) Now we're home about to snuggle up and watch a movie. I will say that I sort of feel like I had another honeymoon. The last few days have been so peaceful, relaxing and romantic. We both feel refreshed and really happy. Man love is so awesome. Alright I'll save you guys from the mush today. Let me know in the comments if you guys want to see a post where I breakdown how much this staycation cost in total. We did spend some money but not nearly as much as we would have if we went to Santa Barbara like we were originally planning to do. Thanks so much for all your support on my journey to be debt free by May 2018 and as always thanks for reading!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Day 3 of Our Staycation

Today we were beach bums. We slept in, 7:45 am for me (my sleep schedule has been off so don't judge me) and 9:45 am for him. We've both been wanting to go to the beach for a while and today we made it happen. We went to Leo Carrillo beach in Malibu. We love this beach. Although this was only our second time going to this beach, it's going to be hard to get us to go to any other beach.

The first time we visited Leo Carrillo was a couple years ago with a group of a friends from our church for a camping trip. We had a great time there, it was very relaxing. It was our first time camping with tents and sleeping bags out in nature and so close to the beach and we enjoyed ourselves. I think the beach by far was the highlight of that trip. Leo Carrillo is not like the other beaches in the area, where it can get pretty crowded. Leo Carrillo is peaceful and laid back. There are tide pools close to shore with Mussels. As well as tons of huge cliffs you can climb to get a better view of the coastline. And the best part is that it's quiet and not crowded. The first time we went we both fell asleep on the beach. It was so nice and refreshing. Granted we've only been on weekdays so not sure if it has the same vibe on a weekend or holiday. I'd like to think so as not to ruin my perception.

As I played in the water my hubby took pictures of me like the paparazzi. (That's me on the right) The water was absolutely freezing but after awhile I got used to it. I felt like a kid again, running through those waves and giggling uncontrollably. It was a game of tag and I wasn't it. I was doing my best not to get tagged by the waves. Jumping and hopping over each wave as it crashed on the sand. The waves surrounded me on each side. Overtaking me at times. Only once was I caught off guard but in my defense my back was to the water. 
After the water became unbearably cold I went back to our spot on the sand and dried off while my hubby climbed the rocks to get a better view of the beach and take more photos. Then I became his paparazzi. (That's him on the left on top of the rocks.) Today was such a beautiful day. The sky was so blue and the water a teal green. The sand was powdery as if it had been finely sifted. The air was thick and moist and the sun hung high. There was a cool breeze that moved my hair perfectly as my husband snapped pictures. All in all it was a great day. We both needed a recharge and these few days have been just that. For me it's been a bigger reminder to make time to rest. I work and I play hard but I don't really rest as much as I should. Resting is so important. Taking time to regain focus and set a priority and remove unnecessary stress mentally. Rest does that for me. It reminds me what's important in life so when I'm in the fire I can remember my values, I can take my time to respond, be present and walk in purpose. Okay that was really random and deep. I guess just something to chew on for the moment. I know I skipped a day detailing our Staycation. I may write a blog post on it later. Well I hope you enjoyed this post, leave me a comment below with your favorite spot by the water. I'd love to hear from you and as always thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Today I Choose Love

Candice Carre Photography
I started the morning in tears as I reflected on my marriage. Viewing our wedding photos and reflecting on our wedding day. I'll never forget it. I was so nervous that day.  I think I had a panic attack too. Had to pull out my inhaler to help my breathing. (Always been a drama queen) Mostly I was nervous for all those people who would be staring at me as I walked down the aisle. I hate that kind of attention it makes me feel so awkward, like a fish out of water. I wasn't nervous about marrying my hubby. I was so confident and sure that it was one of the best decisions I would ever make in my life. The day was perfect and my friends and family made it a stress free day for me.

Candice Carre Photography
Today is my 4th wedding anniversary and I am filled with so much joy and love. I made a vow to love, honor and cherish my husband regardless of our financial standing or challenges with our health as long as we both shall live. I have remained committed to God and my husband both publicly and privately. I say it in that order because my commitment is to God first and then my husband. I stood before God and committed my life to my husband. Regardless of how I feel  or what we go through I must maintain that commitment. I'm always reminded that it wasn't an emotional decision it was a well thought out decision between two people who cared deeply for one another and weren't afraid to commit before God.

I'll be honest it wasn't until we were married that the seriousness of the commitment I was making really sank in. It's to God who I hold my vow as well as my husband and once I understood that it was easier to honor and respect my husband. I should probably review the vows to remind myself of the promises I made more frequently than I do. I don't take them lightly. I want to live a life fully committed to God and my husband. I want to walk in love towards him always and show kindness even when it would satisfy my emotions and ego to yell and belittle him. I want my sons and daughters to see their mommy and daddy as two crazy lovebirds who honor and respect one another and can't live without each other. I want continue on the path we started it's a tough road sometimes but the rewards of the work we put into our marriage are so worth it. I love when I can encourage other people because we didn't give up and put forth the effort.

It's a great feeling to know that you are giving your all and trying every day to make your marriage better than the day before. We're not perfect that's for sure but we're on a journey together and we're learning. I know we're exactly where we should be and I'm grateful. The adventure continues and I can't wait to see what comes next. Babies that's for sure but in God's time not ours. I love you Gerald Kaye. Thanks for all you do for me and how you love me. I'm glad we get to spend our lives with each other. Thanks for stopping by the blog to read my mushy gushy post. Leave me a comment detailing how you choose love. I'd love to hear from you.

Candice Carre Photography

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Day 1 of Our Staycation

I'm happy to report that we only have one event planned for today and that is the concert. We've done nothing but lounge around the house all day. I can't remember the last time I didn't have anything to do. Today has felt so relaxing and freeing. For me it's a reminder of where I'm heading in my life. I'm doing my best to build up my career so I can have the freedom to make my own schedule. One day soon. Anywho, so the concert we are attending tonight is called Distant Worlds. It's music from the popular game and franchise, Final Fantasy. My husband is a huge fan and is super excited for tonight. This is a late birthday gift and early anniversary celebration. New experiences are always exciting for me. I have no expectations but feel content I will get some good people watching time in. I love to people watch. I know this is so random but I really do love it. I make up stories about the people I see. What they are doing here and why. How long they have been here, etc, etc. Especially since the concert happens downtown during E3 and we're taking the train to avoid traffic. Tonight should be quite interesting. Well that's it for today I'm going to go back to doing nothing but wanted to give you just a little update. I hope you are enjoying your hump day where ever you are and as always thanks for reading. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Anniversary on a Budget

This year for our anniversary we decided not to buy gifts or spend money on a vacation. Instead we are having a stay-cation. A stay-cation is a vacation where instead of going away for a few days you stay home and vacation. Stay-cations can be fun if you do it right. Just because you’re not staying at a hotel or in another location doesn’t mean you have to stay at home. Of course we decided to do this in order to save money and stay within our budget. This year we are planning to do a couple things each day we are off work in order to celebrate 4 years of marriage.

The first celebratory event is a concert at LA Live; I'll share more about that tomorrow. We bought the tickets back in April. It’s sort of a late birthday festivity for my hubby as well as an early anniversary celebration. The tickets were a couple hundred bucks total but we bought them before this new budget went into effect so I will let it pass. In addition to this concert, we are also going to use our Disneyland passes and enjoy a day at the park since it’s free. (Employee Perks) We will also follow my tips in my post on How I spend less at the Happiest Place on Earth. I also have a couple events this week that we’ll be attending such as my company picnic and serving dinner at our local shelter. We’re simple people. Yes we do want the finer things in life from time to time but overall our needs are met. I’m excited to have some time off and to spend it with my hubby. We don’t get to do that a lot because we both work full-time but I'm looking forward to sleeping in and lots of cuddling.

These are just couple things we plan to do to celebrate our love. I will probably cook a special meal one of the nights and we may take a trip or two to the beach to enjoy the awesome California weather but all in all we’re content. Oh and there is one thing I do want to clarify, although we won’t be purchasing gifts we will be making gifts. I’m super excited to see what we come up with and I will be sure to be post. Let me know down below how you and your sweetheart celebrate your anniversary on a tight budget. I’d love to hear from you and as always thanks for reading.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Believe in Yourself

It's fine and dandy if people believe in you but you need to believe in yourself. You have to know that you have what it takes to accomplish your goals, ideas and dreams. I can only speak for myself as I really only know me and what I've learned. The times where I doubted my own abilities are the times when I failed. It's okay to be afraid or scared but don't let that sink into your subconscious. Don't let fear take root in your life. Believing should continue even during the seasons where you cannot see what's coming next or you feel the need to quit. For some reason I can't let this topic leave me. I cannot stop thinking about it. Choose to do something you believe in and see how far you can go. I wish I could say I have mastered this area but I really have to remind myself daily that I can do the things I see in my heart. As distant as they may seem if I stay focused I will eventually achieve my goals and dreams. Along with believing also comes timing. I truly believe there is a time and season for everything and it's quite possible too that it may not be the right time and that's ok. Just prepare in the background while you wait so when the time comes you are ready. My favorite quote of all time is that "Success is when preparation meets opportunity." That's why you can't dismiss your experience because you never know what might be preparing you for your opportunity to be successful. I hope that made sense and encouraged you. Feel free to leave me a comment below sharing how you keep yourself motivated when things get tough. And as always thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Grateful For My Job

Happy Sunday! I hope you all are enjoying the latter part of your weekend and prepping for a wonderful week packed with blessings. As I prepare for another week I can't help but think about how grateful I am for my job. I remember seasons of unemployment after college and how hard it was to find a job. No matter how many times I applied online, interviewed and was referred I just couldn't land a job. I was devastated and my bills were piling up. I'm happy to say that 7 years later I'm a subject matter expert in my field of Digital Media, specifically metadata. This skill has opened up doors for me that I never expected. Although like most people I do wish that I could be financially independent and set my own hours, my projects, etc. etc. etc. I am glad that I have a great boss who doesn't micromanage me and allows me the freedom to really own my work. I also like the people I work with a lot. We have a good time. We laugh a lot. I even hang out with my co-workers outside of work. I absolutely enjoy them. I've learned that it's not really about your location but your perspective on your location. I'm so excited for the future and I know that what I'm doing today is preparing me for it. I'd love to hear from you. Please let me know what you're grateful for in the comment section below and as always thanks for reading.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Work Requires Rest

No matter how you slice it, work is work. I know some people may argue that if you love what you do you'll never work another day in your life. But the truth is that work is work, even work that you are passionate about and thoroughly enjoy. I'm learning this more and more each day. I personally think you have to be motivated by something deeper than money to really continue at what you're doing when it gets tough and you want to give up. I'm learning this as I am pursuing my dreams, that as much fun as I am having it's still work and it requires rest.

Rest is a distant dream in our society. The tired and sleepy are honored and given praise for pulling off great work while sleep deprived. I remember pulling all-nighters in college and the truth is that when I'm exhausted I do my worst work. I can't focus. I'm sleepy. Easily aggravated and I make tons of mistakes that I spend hours trying to correct. Whereas if I had just went to sleep on time or paced out the work I wouldn't be so tired. I'm also learning that when I have time to rest I tend to be more creative. I have ideas flowing and I tend to be so excited about what's to come. When I'm tired I just want it all to be over so I can sleep. For me that's not enjoyable. Drudging through something just to get to the end of it. I want to enjoy my work.

With that said I stayed up late last night shooting YouTube videos into the wee hours of the morning for my channel. If you haven't checked it out, do so now. I'm so tired thought and I don't regret it but it truly makes me think that next time I have to plan ahead which means I will have to make certain sacrifices. I don't mind the sacrifices but it's just something I need to be more conscious about. As I get older I value naps, 8 hours of sleep and days off work so much! Can I get an Amen? I know I'm not alone. Feel free to leave me a comment below letting me know whether you struggle getting rest too or if you even think it's necessary. I'd love to hear from you. And as always thanks for reading!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Debt Free by May 2018

Last night was our date night and instead of going out to the movies or lazing about the house we went out to dinner to our favorite restaurant and reviewed the budget. I know hot stuff! I suggested that we do this since it will probably be the last time we have the money in our budget to do so. We've both come to a point where we want to get out of debt completely and are now willing to make the necessary changes and sacrifices in order to make that happen. It’s really funny because we both have been inspired by the people we follow and listen to online to make a change to be better savers and move to a place where we can be debt free. After almost 4 years of marriage we now recognize how debt can stifle your dreams and choke your budget.

We kicked things off by discussing our goals for the next 1-2 years. We talked about everything from our blogs to the emergency kits we still need to complete. It was great hearing about the things that are important to us both. The common thread was that was that our savings fund needed to be amped up and that our debt needed to decrease. Using the spreadsheet that I wrote about in yesterday’s post, we plugged in the numbers for our current debts and altogether we owe a little over 45k. Not too bad but not too great either. We found out that if we pay an extra $960 each month (snowflake payment) then we could be debt free in 35 months.

Now I know this seems like a lot but when we went through our budget we found key areas where we were wasting money or overspending. Also for the last two years we were already making extra payments on our student loans so we just took those extra payments we were making and added them to our snowflake payment. The numbers we came up with use the debt avalanche method opposed to the popular debt snowball method. Again check out my post from yesterday to see why we chose the avalanche over the snowball. Playing around with the calculator I did determine that if we only paid an extra $45 a month on top of the minimum monthly payments that we wouldn’t be debt free until 2035. Yikes! Clearly the more you extra payments you make a month the quicker you can pay off your debts.

I’m excited and a little nervous for this journey. We cut down our Fun Money accounts by more than 50% as well as are significantly reducing our grocery and household budgets. Basically our needs are covered with a little money left over to splurge once in a while. That’s one thing we both continuously said was key. We wanted a little money to go to a movie every now and again or to eat out. Basically this means more game nights at our house where it’s potluck style. We’ll be taking our lunch to work which we already do now so that’s not a huge change. All and all the purposeful spending and tracking will be the biggest transition for us both as well as finding ways to increase our income to pay off our debt sooner. 

We are committed to doing what it takes and as we pay our debts I will share our struggles, challenges and victories. Leave me a comment and let me know if you have debt you’ve like to tackle or ways you are tackling your debt. I hope my transparency inspires you to make a change. I’m not a millionaire nor is my family wealthy. We’re just two crazy kids in love who want financial freedom. Thanks for stopping by and as always thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Debt Snowball vs. Debt Avalanche

I've heard of the debt snowball method for paying off debts quickly however I wasn't sure how to implement it for family. It seemed easy just order your debts from lowest balance to highest balance and once the lowest debt is paid off, apply it's payment to the next debt and continue until you can yell, "We're Debt Free!". The more and more I thought about tracking it the more and more it became complex for me. How would I track it? What if I made extra payments? How do I calculate the total payoff balance including interest from month to month? Too much to think about for someone who doesn't like numbers. So like always I turn to Google when in need of a solution and as expected Google did not disappoint me. I found a pretty nifty spreadsheet at LifeHacker that totally solves my dilemma. Not only will I be able to track my debts but the spreadsheet offers 2 ways to payoff your debts.

The first is the debt snowball method where you pay off the debts with the lowest balances first. This method is most popular as it builds confidence quickly as debts are eliminated fast due to the low balances. However you may pay more money since debts with higher interest could potentially have a higher balance and be further down the line on the debt snowball. I didn't like that idea. Second is the debt avalanche method where you pay off your debts with the highest interest rates first, this way you pay the least interest over time. This method makes the most sense in savings but can take longer to see progress depending on how much the first balance is of your highest interest debt. I personally thought I would pursue the debt snowball method because of the great things I've heard about it but after seeing that it doesn't save me money I would rather wait to see progress than pay more over time.

I've downloaded the spreadsheet and started filling it out. Once I have it completely filled in I will let you guys know when my expected pay off date is and the balance. (Insert Climatic Music) I hope you enjoyed this post about a free resource I'm using on my debt free journey. Leave me a comment below with your preferred method for tracking your debt payments and what method you use. And as always thanks for reading.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Success Starts With Belief

I was embarking on yet another journey and thoughts of fear and failure were not far behind. I didn't want to be the girl always trying but never succeeding. I didn't want to be the person always pursuing an ever distant dream. I wanted to be the woman on a mission taking steps toward purpose. I have had several businesses in the last few years and not all of them have been successful. Actually none of them have been successful. I've sold items on Ebay such as event tickets, shoes, computer parts, fur jackets and made a nice chunk of cash but it was always far and few between sales. I once attempted to launch my own online store, nothing sold. Not one item. I once tried to sell gift baskets to companies as gifts for their employees. My mother was the only one to purchase a basket. I sold energy services, insurance products, cosmetics and the list goes on. I've always wanted to be a business owner. Being your own boss, setting your own schedule, establishing a mission for the company and executing it has always appealed to me. However as I embarked on this journey of becoming a blogger and YouTuber I was honestly fearful. What if the vision I saw didn't attract any views? What if the content wasn't good? What if? But then again what if the vision I saw attracted viewers? What if the content was really good? What if I were successful? I believe what makes this business idea different than others is that I'm not trying to prove the concept as I'm launching it. I'm using my writing and speaking skills to share things that are important to me. With other businesses I had to acquire new skills that didn't come naturally or study a new area I had no experience and really no desire to learn. As fear drew near I really weighed my options. I thought about the pros and cons to launching a blog as a business. Another fear I had was that I would run out of content to create or share. That somehow I wouldn't have enough to keep up with the demand. As time passed and it did, months went by and I still wasn't sure if this was what I wanted to do. During this time I found several podcasts from other bloggers, YouTubers, writers, speakers, actors that really encouraged me. The over arching theme in all the episodes I listened to was that "Success Starts with Belief". They all shared their journeys and how it all began and person after person stated that they believed they could make money at this. They believed that could work as a full-time blogger/writer/speaker/YouTuber so they pursued it. It all started with a belief that this was something that they could do. I can totally relate because as much as I was fearful of failure I had a feeling deep inside that I could actually make a living writing. I really believe that there are people in this world that want to read and watch the content that I create. When I think about the possibilities of what I have on the inside of me it's really mind blowing. I don't know who this post is for but don't give up on your dreams. Keep pursuing what you see in your mind. Keep creating the reality that you want. It's all possible you just have to believe. I hope you enjoyed this post and that it inspired you. Thanks for stopping by and as always thanks for reading!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Don't Be Afraid to Walk Alone

As much as I want to include everyone on this journey that I'm embarking on, I realize that not everyone can join me. Hear me now, this isn't a blog post about cutting people off or how there is a reason and season for every relationship. Although there are times in your life that you need to leave certain people alone and recognize their reason and season for being in your life and when that reason and season is over but that's not this post. I'm specifically talking about inviting people to have a more active role in your journey of self-discovery, dreaming, planning, growing when they may have only been called to watch from the sidelines and cheer you on. I'm the queen of inviting everyone and their brother along to do what I'm doing. If I discovered a cool way to manage something in my life then I will break my neck to share with other people so that they too can get the same revelation. I want my co-workers, friends and family to reap the same benefits that I have or join me as I do something and the truth is they may not join me. And the freeing thing about it is, that's okay. It's okay to go it alone sometimes. It's okay to have a dream that not everyone understands. It's okay for people to disagree with you. It's okay.

Make no mistake, I do heed warnings and ponder all the advice that I receive but ultimately I have the final say in my life. The fact of the matter is not only may it be unhelpful for you to drag other people into the process you are going through but it may also but unhelpful for others as well. Because we're not all called to do the same thing and we're definitely not called to do it the same way or at the same time. What makes you unique is your perspective and execution. Two people could both run a restaurant but do it completely different. It doesn't make one way wrong it's just different.

I believe there will come a point in time when you can include people into your journey. The degree to their involvement may vary from person to person but discern when that time may come. If you are still figuring out what you are doing and how you want to do it then that may not be the right time. If you are feeling very protective and sensitive then that may not be a good time either. Ultimately you want to include people at a point where it is mutually beneficial for the both of you. I'm being a bit vague with the subject matter but this idea could really apply to any aspect of life from finances, career, starting a business, parenting, a romantic relationship, etc. The main point is just understand that you may have to go this journey alone and not to let that hinder you or discourage you. Not everyone understands what you see and therefore not everyone can support you.

As I grow and learn in some new areas in my life I am very specific about what I share so that I don't take on hitchhikers or drifters. I love my friends and family but now may not be a great time to divulge all my plans so when people ask what I'm doing I may be a bit vague. I may only share a portion of what I'm doing for the time being as so to respect my process. The intention is not to be distant or disrespectful but at all costs I must protect my vision. Lastly I want to encourage you if you have been feeling down about the lack of support you have received for a project, idea, transition, goal, lifestyle change, etc. Although it may be tough and it may hurt, take some time to evaluate the response you received. Maybe this is a time when you must go it alone. Maybe your vision still needs to be clarified before sharing. Maybe the people you shared it with don't have faith to believe because they've never done it. Whatever the reason don't give up just make a conscious effort to continue regardless even if that means walking alone.

I know this was a lot to share in a post but it was on my mind. Leave me a comment if you've felt like this, are feeling like this or have had to let someone go it alone. And as always thanks for reading.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Welcome to the Creative World of Mrs. Kaye

Are you following your dreams? Are you living with passion? If not what's holding you back? These are some very real questions I had to ask myself recently. I realized I wasn't where I wanted to be. I had this fire back in the day for the dreams that were placed on my heart but somehow over the years the flames went from being a fiery furnace to lowly pocket lighter.  But what do you do when the flames are going out? What do you do when you realize you’re not where you want to be?  My answer was to start over.  It sounds daunting but once you take the first step it can be quite rewarding. I started evaluating where I was in relation to where I wanted to be and how long it would take to get there. I started writing again. I started acting again. I started creating again. I’m not where I want to be but I’m on my way. Mrs. Kaye Writes will be the outlet through which I share my adventures in vegetarian/vegan cuisine, my thoughts, my poetry, my advice, debt free journey, creations, experiences, and ultimately my life. I hope that you are encouraged, inspired and entertained. I invite you to come along for the ride.

Here's a little of what you can expect:

  • My Adventures in Vegetarian/Vegan Cuisine

    As I traverse through this new world of vegetarian/vegan living I want to share with you my experiences trying new foods, recipes and maintaining a balanced and healthy diet.
It wouldn't be summer without some [veggie] ribs?

  • Words directly from my heart

    I truly believe that God speaks to me through my writing. He whispers thoughts and ideas to me that I then ponder and pen. It's an intimate process. One in which I have no control. I am simply the vessel.

Summer Love

Lake still and rocks skipped

Lips soft and eyes locked


  • Exclusive Access into lab of Mrs. Kaye's Creations

      I love making bath products such as bath bombs, body butters, bath salts and body bars. I will share some of my latest creations here too.

Yummy Body Butter Souffle


  • My Debt Free Journey

 I’ve been inspired to reduce my spending and pay down my debt as soon as humanly possible. I will share ways I make extra income to pay down those debts.

Thank you for visiting my blog. I appreciate all the love and support as I follow my dreams with passion. This is just the beginning. And as always thanks for reading!


Mrs. Kaye

Sunday, June 7, 2015

I'm Grateful

This morning I woke up thanking God for life. Not just my life but the gift of life this morning. As much as I want to give up, I realize that each day that I wake up and open my eyes is a gift. I'm alive! It is also a reminder to me that I can't give up. It's not my time. I want to challenge each each and everyone of you reading this post to find something to be grateful for every Sunday in June. Before you even get to Monday, purpose in your heart to be grateful. Set your mind on one thing and meditate on it for a little bit each day. It doesn't have to be long, maybe start with 1 minute of gratefulness today and work your way up to 15 minutes by the end of the month. 

I look forward to what this season of gratefulness births in everyone. Happy Sunday and remember to be grateful!  

Saturday, June 6, 2015

How I Spend Less at the Happiest Place on Earth

I love Disneyland but it can be expensive. Especially if you plan to spend the whole day and night at the park. Food by far is the biggest expense. However I will say that in comparison to other theme parks, Disney's food is moderately priced. I usually don't feel like I'm spending an arm and a leg on food when I go. Never the less it's important when I go that I budget my funds since I am on a tight budget. Click here to find out why.  First of all depending on the trip I will limit my meals to a maximum of 1. I do this to really save money and focus my meal selection only on that which will truly provide nutrition.

Eat Before You Leave the House
First I eat a big meal before leaving the house. If I plan to spend the whole day at Disneyland then I eat a big breakfast. I usually will have a big bowl of oatmeal, fruit and a cup of hot tea. Or maybe scrambled eggs with lots of veggies. Pick your favorite meal to eat beforehand and this way when you arrive at the park you can go straight to the rides. If I'm going in the evening then I will be sure to eat breakfast and a hefty lunch. I will usually eat a hot lunch like pasta, chick'n nuggets (soy for me), tacos, etc. This way my 1 meal at the park will be on the lighter side.

Eat a Snack on the Way
For me this is key. I have a fast metabolism so I usually am hungry rather quickly after eating so on the way to the park I will nibble on a snack. This will be something light as I'm usually not starving but want to make sure I keep myself full.

Bring a Refillable Water Bottle
There are so many places to fill up your water bottle in the park that it just doesn't make sense to buy water or drinks. This by far is the easiest way to save money. And if you don't want to bring a water bottle just ask for a cup of water, those are free too.

Pack Snacks
Overall my biggest  and most helpful tip and practice is to pack snacks. It's really simple too. I am less likely to overspend on all the carts and restaurants with tasty treats that will satisfy my eyes but leave my stomach wanting more if I have something to snack on in line.
I bring the following snacks to eat while in line to cut down on costs. These are some yummy items that hold up well in your bag throughout your trip.

    • Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
    • Baby Carrots
    • Grapes
    • Blueberries
    • Strawberries
    • Chips
    • Crackers
    • Granola Bars
    • Jerky
    • Nuts (Your Choice)                                                                                            
And that's it. With these tips I'm able to spend less and truly enjoy the Happiest Place on Earth. I hope you are enjoying your Saturday wherever you are. Leave me a comment below letting me know how you spend less at theme parks like Disneyland. And as always thanks for reading!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Goodbye Meat! I'm a Vegetarian with Vegan Tendencies

Last year I took a class at my church called Prayer Lab. A phenomenal class that changed my life. So much so that I don't eat meat any more. Okay, so what? What's the big deal? In this day and age everybody and their brother is a vegan, raw vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, no sugar eating, gluten free, clean eating, non-GMO, Herbal Life nut. What makes me different you ask?

Jesus told me to do it. 

I know, I know I used the J word. At least I didn't blame the devil. But seriously He did. Jesus not the devil. In order to understand why, you would have to understand a little something about me...

Or at least I did love meat at one point in time. Everything from red meat to white meat. I ate it all. Especially bacon! I loved bacon. Bacon  was my everything. I even wrapped whole chickens in bacon, put bacon in and on my desserts and ate bacon by itself as a meal. I also loved ribs. Beef or Pork I was no respecter of animal. I loved meat. I even tried Bison once. Not too bad, very hearty. It's what I'd imagine eating if I were on the Oregon Trail way back in the day.

My only problem was that meat was an idol in my life. A very unsuspecting one too. Maybe when you think of an idol, you think about the show American Idol, or a statue, a boyfriend or a girlfriend, sex, drugs and rock n' roll possibly but very seldom do you think of food. However during Prayer Lab orientation I was told I would need to chose a fasting regiment to follow for the duration of the class. My only options were 1) Poultry and Fish, Fruits and Vegetables, Whole Grains, No Processed Foods, No Sugars and No Fried Foods or  2) Everything previously mentioned minus the Poultry and Fish. When I thought about giving up meat just for the class (6 weeks) I broke down. In my heart I knew that the 2nd choice would give me the challenge I was looking for but I was afraid. Afraid of going deeper. I felt a prompting deep within myself to to pursue a meatless lifestyle but I still had to work through my emotions. I remember I was on my way home in the car and I  started bawling like a big ole baby saying, "I can't give up meat!! I'll die. Why God, why?" I literally cried this aloud. And after I stopped hyperventilating and wiped my tears just in time to take my exit off the freeway mind you, I realized I wasn't going to die. In fact I was going to live and probably longer as a result of this choice or at the very least be healthier.

It's been over 1 year and I'm still with it surprisingly. I just knew I would have a bacon relapse by now but thank the Lord for veggie bacon. It has truly kept me. So now for my new label, I'm a Vegetarian with Vegan Tendencies. I'm vegetarian because I don't eat meat but I also have vegan tendencies since I don't consume dairy** and most vegetarians do. As well as I eat eggs which vegans do not. Vegans do not eat or use animal products. I on the other hand love leather. Anyway it was easier to label myself before this change because I was just a regular person who ate regular food or so I thought. But now I have standards and limits and what not? Sheesh! Honestly I'm not picky and I'm not doing this to make a political statement nor a religious one. I honestly am just being obedient. The one thing I know for sure is that it's not my season to eat meat. Maybe one day I'll go back but for now I'm happy. Outside of not eating meat everything else is fair game with a couple exclusions.
Mrs. Kaye's Dietary Guidelines
No meat
Absolutely no meat. Yes that includes Fish. I have to say that because people ask me that all the time. They're like oh you don't eat meat but you eat like fish, right? Nope! Not I said this little pig. (Uh no pun intended or irony) And I still cook meat. My hubby is not a vegetarian so I must feed him meat but he is gluten free.

No Dairy**
No milk, butter, cheese, sour cream or ice cream. Pretty much nothing made with milk. This was a personal choice that my hubby and I both made in the last couple years. We both felt like dairy wasn't agreeing with us. I'll spare ya the details. So we use almond milks, rice milks, plant based butters and nut based cheeses. They are actually quite yummy. If you're interested I'll let you know what I have tried and liked or didn't like.

**One exception is bread and ranch. If these are made with dairy then we will still consume them. The amounts are small enough that they do not cause us any issues but for this reason I say I have vegan tendencies since I am still consuming animal byproduct. As my hubby has moved to a gluten-free diet most of the breads he eats are dairy free. 

Natural Sweeteners Mostly
Out of all the areas this is where I fail. I try to limit the amount high fructose corn syrup, processed sugars and artificial sweeteners I eat but it's hard. I love sweets just about as much as I loved meat. Ice Cream was the hardest thing for me to let go off but once my body starting rejecting dairy it made it easier to let go of. Now I eat coconut-or-almond-milk-based frozen desserts but it's not the same. As for sweets I think fruits are my easiest replacements for candy or pastries packed with sugar.

Whole Grains 
I try to eat whole grains like barley, farro, oats, quinoa and rice. I 'll use them to make loaves, tacos, patties or just eat them with veggies. More recently I realized my body doesn't like quinoa so I had removed it from my diet completely same with lentils. I feel like those two foods really irritate my tummy. Rice is yummy. I should probably eat more brown rice but I prefer white.

Beans, Seeds and Nuts
I eat beans in moderation as it is a magical fruit. I love kidney beans, black beans and pinto beans. I will season any of these beans with paprika, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder and add to a taco shell with zucchini and mushrooms. Top with salsa and you have the perfect taco. I love sunflower seeds not with the shell. Too salty for me. I add them to my salads and they are the perfect substitute to croutons if I am watching my carb intake. I used to love almonds until those too betrayed me. They are so difficult for me to digest that I have just eliminated them from my diet completely. I do love cashews and peanuts as a snack. They are a great source of protein too.

And that's it I try to eat lots of fruits and veggies and drink tons of water. Never been much of a soda drinker. I also limit the amount of processed foods but it's hard because some of the convenient veggie meals are loaded with preservatives and completely made of soy. I hope you enjoyed my post on my transition to a vegetarian lifestyle with a vegan twist. Leave me a comment below if you just love meat and think I'm bananas or if you can relate and are vegetarian or vegan or eat some vegetarian or vegan meals. I'm curious to hear what you guys are eating and as always thanks for reading.


with Vegan Tendencies