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A Healing Cruise – I’m Feeling Like Me Again

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Taking a Cruise for Self Care | Vacation | De-stress | Mental Health

I’m back from another cruise escape and I’m finally feeling like me again! Yesterday, I woke up happy, had a productive day with pet sitting and my online work, hung out with a few friends for several hours each, and was still chugging away at 4am.  I’m nearly caught up with everything from last week…so now I’m only as behind as I was before we left!  😉 I haven’t been able to go this long on 5-6 hours of sleep in more than a year.  I won’t make a habit of it, but I had almost forgotten what energy felt like.  Grief and depression are real bitches. Our Recent Cruise We sailed out on the Carnival Breeze from February 5-12, 2017.  It stopped in Jamaica, the Grand Caymans, and Cozumel, Mexico.  We got off in every port for just a little souvenir browsing, but mainly, we spent the entire cruise relaxing. Our days were spent watching movies, playing 2 person board games like Patchwork and Jaipur, playing “Burger Shop” on our tablets, lounging in the adult-only, Serenity section of the ship in huge chairs, eating Guy’s Burgers (and anything else we felt like munching on), and just enjoying having no … Read more

Heading to Las Vegas, Baby! Current Las Vegas Deals!

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Woohoo Vegas! I can't wait to go with my friends, ladies night out! This post is full of great ideas on how to have frugal fun in Las Vegas, especially when you go for a conference and want to fit fun in on the side. Definitely useful, I got to Vegas for conferences all the time.

I’ve written about Las Vegas and have highlighted posts from awesome guests that cover some budget-friendly Las Vegas tips.  It has been 5+ years, but I am finally heading back.  For a pet sitting conference.  Yes, that is a thing. I’m attending the Petsittingology Live Conference 2016 (#PSO2016).  It’s their 5th year, and it is a tight-knit group, so wish me luck! What do I get out of it?  Connections and KNOWLEDGE. Growing Our Businesses I’ve been concentrating on our online income which led me to hire Pinterest professionals to grow my traffic, which has doubled in 5 months (if you’re interested, check out and let Kathleen and Anne know I sent you…I wasn’t being funny, my traffic went from 8000-ish to 16,500-ish). During the same period, Mr. BFS has been pushing us to grow Crystal’s Cozy Care Pet Sitting.  In order to grow, I need to know if I’m missing anything obvious, how to properly hire contractors or employees, and I would like to learn about any tips and tricks that I’ve missed. Here is the plan for the Las Vegas trip! My Lodging The conference is being held at the Monte Carlo Hotel and Casino.  Their pool … Read more

Goodbye, San Diego! #FinCon16 Recap

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FinCon is THE conference for personal finance bloggers and there are so, so many amazing opportunities to network as a blogger and to learn a myriad of ways to increase your blogging skills, all so you can make more money blogging and have a great time. HIGHLY recommend checking it out.

I’m back!  #FinCon16 was a meet up of 1250+ financial geeks and blogging buffs in San Diego for 4+ days.  If you just thought “sounds like heaven”, you should join us in Dallas in 2017!  (That’s my referral link to the $189 rate from now until October 2)  My Peeps Thanks to a handful of sincere yet goofy people, I was able to center myself after crappy months of loss. Introverts at conferences are told to connect with an extrovert and ride the social wave.  Well, I’m definitely one of those extroverts and I was truly lucky to be surrounded by an amazing introvert core that made me feel loved and encouraged – Revanche from A Gai Shan Life, Maria Nedeva from The Money Principle, Khaleef and Sherrian Crumbley from KNS Financial, and Joe Taxpayer.  They were the ones I’d latch onto for the day while tackling the conference bleary-eyed and bushy-tailed.  I also connected one-on-one with Valerie Rind, Pauline Paquin, Tai Stewart, Emily Guy Birken, Sandy Smith, and Joshua.  On my last full day, I went to the famous San Diego Zoo with a fabulous first-time attendee, Leslie from Notorious D.E.B.T. Thank you all – you made FinCon16 kick … Read more

How to Pack for a Conference (For Me, FinCon)

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How to Pack for a Conference - Conferences are the BEST for networking and building an online business. I get SO many opportunities from going but I never know what to pack for a conference, or I forget things. This list will help me not be forgetful and actually have a chance to make new blogging friends, not be looking for Walmart.

My biggest conference of every year is FinCon – a huge money geek meetup with learning, connections, drinking, and parties.  This event started as the Financial Blogger Conference in 2011 and evolved into the Financial Content Expo.  Whatever the real name, #FinCon17 in Dallas, Texas will be in October 2017!!! This is my annual trek to network, see my financial blogging friends, and to soak up pure, unadulterated motivation.  I also try to attend as cheaply as possible because, well, it’s me at a financial conference…duh.  Cheap means not having a checked bag when you have to fly through any airline near me other than Spirit.  That in mind, here is my go to packing list for conferences! FIRST – Conference Specific Items No matter the conference, there are probably a few things you shouldn’t forget.  Here are my needs for FinCon: Business Cards!!!  I go to this conference to network.  Step 1 is being memorable enough not to need business cards.  BUT Step 2 is having them just in case.  Especially to hand to people I want to work with soon.  I generally only need 50 or so, but I take 100+ just in case.  I’ve generally used Vistaprint.Here are my … Read more

New Orleans on a Budget

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I LOVE learning budget travel hacks and tips for how to visit places on the cheap. New Orleans is on my bucket list and it's so nice to know exactly how much a trip there will cost and what I need to budget for my next vacation.

I truly enjoy visiting New Orleans.  It can be easy to spend a ton visiting any tourist town, but you can visit New Orleans on a budget.  Here are my best tips and tricks! Transportation For our last trip, we drove to New Orleans from Houston, TX using our 2007 Prius.  Altogether, it cost $60 for gasoline.  If you live close enough to drive, it may be something to consider. If you can’t drive, check out your public transportation options.  I used the Megabus in late 2014 to get to New Orleans and my in-laws picked me up at the end of my trip.  The 1-way Megabus ticket cost me $9.75 and that included an $8 upgrade to the front most seat on the top (which made me car sick, so I sat in a cheap $1 seat anyway) and it included the 25 cents to receive text notifications of any changes.  It looks like most tickets cost $2-$60 depending on the location and whether you need a round trip ticket or not.  Check out your local bus and train stations to see if you have any affordable options. For flights, you may want to figure out the direct flight cost from your city (I use sites like and … Read more

Budgeting for Unexpected Fun

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This was a post response for a newsletter reader question back in June 2014.  I feel like I did not promote it correctly back then and it may help a few more out now.  Thanks!  How Do You Budget for a Completely Unexpected Expense? Here was a recent question from Carmen: My kids have gifted me with a ticket to Istanbul & then Italy for my daughter’s wedding in Autumn…what is the best way to budget for additional trip expenses?  Thanks–take care! Okay, so most of us are probably thinking that the best way for budgeting for unexpected expenses is to save money in advance.  You’d be right, but that isn’t helpful if that hasn’t been done yet and the expense pops up anyway.  Plus, that may not be the question… First – How to Estimate Travel Expenses First thing’s first.  Carmen may be asking how much she should budget for the trip, not how to come up with the money.  Either way, she’ll need to know.  For travel, I generally search around online for recent personal stories from other people to see how much things run.  I research them based on the big categories and round up to cover … Read more

Back from Our Cruise – Our House Didn’t Float Away, Yay!

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When I last posted, we were dealing with a car accident battery replacement problem with our 2007 Prius, my grandma was doing a little worse in a skilled nursing facility, my grandparents were moving the weekend I left into a skilled nursing apartment sort of set up, and the weather was sunny here near Houston, TX. We headed out for our cruise April 16. Unexpected Crap Well, on April 18, we docked in Key West, FL and I turned on my cell phone to check on my grandma. Instead I get message after message about major storms and flooding in and around Houston, including the actual area north-ish of Houston where we live and where our rental house is located. Crap. And a tornado touched down a mile from our house. Oh crap. And more rain was coming. Crap, crap, crap. And my grandma wasn’t waking up from a nap that morning even though they were planning on moving that afternoon. Well, hell… And we set sail from Key West that evening and headed towards the Bahamas. I turned off my phone. Our Cruise The rest of the cruise was awesome and stressful at the same time. I enjoyed my … Read more