3 Songs for GO TIME

When I need to get a move on, when my brain is in la-la land, when I need to find motivation deep down somewhere, I don't just need a high energy playlist, I need songs with rill good hooks. These are my go-to songs, with hooks that get you moving within seconds:

Embed not working, no idea why. This is a girl's jam. It's about knowing yourself and fighting for getting yours.

"Some will want your love, some will want your pain, some will want the blood from your veins. Some are hanging onto every word you say waiting til you fall from you reign. But that's okaaaaaay. Rub it in their faaaaace. Keep on Runnin."

2. Thrift Shop by Macklemore

Still. It's so fun.

"Imma take your grampa's style, Imma take your grandpa's style. No for real, ask your grandpa, can I have his hand me downs?"

3. Pusher Love Girl by Justin Timberlake

JT so smooth. This was the opener for his concert and the intro automatically gets you grooving.


How I travel

It's no secret that I love to travel, and travel a lot. Sometimes as a family, sometimes just with Porter, sometimes just with the baby, sometimes with just a friend. I'm very lucky. It's also my hobby and passion and when people ask How I make it happen, I say:

1. I Prioritize

I don't shop, and when I do I buy on clearance or at thrift stores (with rare exception). We don't go out to dinner so often, we go to movies barely ever. My car is almost 20 years old, Porter's is 10+ years old. I love traveling and it costs money so the money I have to spend on non-essentials, I try to keep budgeted toward trips.

While traveling, I employ what I call the Skimp-Save-Splurge Strategy. (I just made that up, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to copyright it). Basically, when we are in Europe we eat free hotel breakfast, baguettes, cheese, and salami throughout the day (and trail mix/granola bars I pack from home), so we can afford a few really shmancy meals where I don't have to sweat about the price tag. For hotels, we stay at cheap-o places most of the time and if possible, a few nights somewhere that feels luxurious. We walk and take public transportation more than is always my preference (no taxis, if possible), do fewer organized tours than is Porter's preference and skip shopping sprees (coworkers and children do not need gifts, they just don't). We've Couch-surfed (officially, through the website and literally, just stayed with friends) and camped and swiped free breakfast food to eat throughout the day - but have also eaten expensive meals and paid a lot for boats, guides, and keepsakes that felt important.

At home and while traveling I often go back to the mantra: Pay for it if you love it, but only if you love it.

2. Gaming the system (miles and points)

I also haven't paid for a plane ticket in over 5 years. Some of this is because I can fly standby (see #3), but mostly I play the game of credit card points and miles. I sign up for cards, meet the bonuses, pay off the credit card (always!), and rack them up. I'm partial to the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, but there are tons of other ways to do it out there. For the last two years we've had the Southwest Companion Pass, which means you can buy one ticket (with cash or with points) and your Companion can fly for free (plus taxes, $5.60). Add in that babies fly free and we've taken several trips where all three of us cost $11.20 total out of pocket (plus points, of course, which feel like funny money).

For a while I compulsively read blogs dedicated to the game (Million Mile Secrets, Travel is Free, The Points Guyn are some favorites) for tips and tricks, reminders about category bonuses and heads up about promotions. It can get overwhelming pretty fast, but if you pick a system/airline, you can can learn all the upcoming promotions for that system/airline and all the ways to maximize your points. Then booking isn't quite so daunting.

What also feels like gaming the system is we AirBNB our house whenever we can when we're gone. It's a hassle to clean and prep the house while also packing for a trip, and we don't always get bookings that cover the whole time, but usually it covers the cost of a specific tour we want to do or a few nights in a nice hotel.

3. Connections/Luck
Porter's mom was a flight attendant for United and I am currently listed as her +1, which gives me major flight benefits (standby flights and a lap child FTW!). She is also an avid traveler, and generous travel partner when we travel with her, and generous Nana/caretaker so we can leave Jamie behind sometimes. Porter also makes thousands of dollars of purchases for his business which makes credit card points easier to rack up than most everyday spending. Not everyone has these, I realize.


3 Nonprofit Organizations That Support Women

It's International Women's Day, one of those holidays, like International Sandwich Day, National Hug Your Dog Day and others, that is basically made up. Maybe it gets used for marketing, maybe it's all about the warm fuzzies, but I have grown to really appreciate it. Fact is, women are amazing and women are, in fact, at a disadvantage most everywhere in the world. But the world is trying to fix it. LOTS of people in the world. So many it's hard to know who to support.

So here are three organizations I know about, and a link to a bigger list of bigger organizations.

1. Women for Afghan Women

I'm reading a book right now  called The Lovers by Rod Nordland. It's about a star-crossed couple in Afghanistan who are on the run from the woman's family's threats of honor killing her for running off with and marrying the man. Throughout the book, the author highlights a number of stories of basically how screwed women are in Afghanistan (I know, no surprise) and how there are a number of women's shelters that have popped up to protect them. Women for Afghan Women is an organization he worked with extensively and recommends. They operate shelters, transitional housing and mediation for families in conflict, as well as advocacy and training on the ground to improve the situation of women in the country. So they don't get acid thrown on their faces for BS reasons. (PS, There's no good reason to throw acid)

2. Days for Girls

My aunt is currently doing and awesome drive for supplies to head to support Syrian Refugees, and the local chapter of Days for Girls made so many kits for her she couldn't fit them all in her car, so I'm taking another full load for her this weekend. Days for Girls provides feminine hygiene solutions for women in the developing world. Periods basically mess with girls all over the world, and more than just cramps and crankiness. Girls are often pulled out of school and they often have to deal with periods in a very unhygienic way. Days for Girls not only collects supplies to be distributed around the world but also does training in local communities that help provide kits and jobs (read: stability) to local women.

3. ANEW - Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Employment for Women

We worked with this group when I worked at Habitat for Humanity and they are AWESOME. Simple, they train women in trades and help them get jobs. It's an inspiring community and a successful mission. They do great work.

More ideas here 
And some more

Here's a video I saw almost 10 years ago that I think literally made my heart stop. I've thought about it a lot over the last decade. How the impact a girl can make on herself, her family, her community, and the world is incalculable.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/5kxysX4MmOU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>


3 Favorite Things About My New Bathroom

We remodeled our bathroom a few months ago! I don't know why there's a ! ending that sentence, it was mostly a long, awful, decision-laden process that I was sure throughout would make me feel like it was a total waste of money.

But it wasn't! There's that ! again. Note: I hate remodel projects. Hate laboring over a million stupid decisions. Hate spending money. Hate seeing on the final invoice a straight up 17% overhead charge. BOO FOR NOT BEING SELF-SUFFICIENT ENOUGH TO DO IT ALL ON MY OWN.

Buuuut I do love the outcome. My favorite things;

1. The cast-iron pan.

Okay most people probably can't tell it's cast-iron. But I do. We got a great deal on it and I feel like ever so subtly it jibes with the 1901-ness of our house.

2. The tile border

This was one of those decisions I thought about for weeks. We knew we wanted 2" white hex tiles. But didn't know if we wanted black tiles. And if so, how many. And in what pattern. After a million Houzz and Pinterest and blog views, I decided I wanted a dotted border. The tile place couldn't sell us sheets of black, only sheets with randomly placed black hexes (dumb). But the tile guy was able to put it all together, and I LOVE IT.


All in caps because I love it that much. Halfway through the decision-making process I swear I had a vision of what color I wanted so it was just a matter of finding it in the paint swatches. This never happens to me. I saw it in my brain. I found it in the store. It was painted. And it is perfection.

The vintage mirror and matching stained built-in shelves are pretty nice too...