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Friday, May 27

Good morning, lovelies!

Confession is good for the soul, so grab the button and let it all out. You'll feel better when you're finished.

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I confess...

I have spent most of this week looking forward to the weekend. For the first time in a long while, I'm taking a four-day weekend. And after years of being friends virtually, I'll be having a meet up with my Monthly Coffee co-host Miss Angie from My So-Called Chaos as well as Kimi from Kimi Who? and Melanie Grace from Live Steamy.

It's amazing how we create these friendships via our blog world without having met in person. And it's always exciting to make that face to face connection. Plus, I get to visit Savannah, which is one of my favorite cities in the Southeast.

I confess...

I realized this week, that my last trip to Savannah was when my family spent Christmas at Tybee Island in 2012. Where did the time go? And also, why do my baby brother and his wife have to live on the other side of the country?


I confess...

Whenever I'm trying to get ready to go out of town, everything on my to-do list seems to grow at an exponential rate. All I want to do is give myself a pedicure and get a good night's sleep. Why do I have to adult before taking a trip?



Want to play along? Grab the button and link your Friday Confessional below. Please comment after linking.





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Thursday, May 26

Hello, friends!

Welcome to the Monthly Coffee, a little linky party hosted by me and Miss Angie from My So-Called Chaos.



This party is all about sharing those fabulous blogs that you've read this month. Let's grow our blogger community by sharing the best posts you've come across. You'll find new blogs to read, and we'll all make new friends.

So pour yourself a steamy beverage, grab the button and share your favorite reads this month.

That said, here were my favorite reads lately:


I've been reading Cassie from Blogilates and following her youtube workout videos off and on for years. It has been really awesome to watch her mature in her body image, and it's changed the tone of her blog and workouts. This post on what strong really means resonated with me. I train jujitsu for some of the same reasons; I like who I and how I feel after a good class.




Speaking of strong, I don't think any of us could look at what Ida Keeling has accomplished and not be inspired. At age 100, this woman is a national running champion and is still setting new goals for herself. She is amazing.

A Peek at Karen's World

I'll admit that I haven't jumped on the Uber train. I've been a fare exactly once, and I don't even have the app on my phone. Partly because we haven't travelled much in the last year so there's not much need for ride-sharing at all. Since we have quite a few friends who are big fans of the service (and a few who drive for Uber), I enjoyed Karen's article on ways to be a stand-out passenger; it helped me understand the service better.


As we've been working toward decluttering our home, I've been on the hunt for ways to make my home office more efficient. Krystal from Sunny Sweet Days never disappoints, and she has some practical tips to have a productive and beautiful home office space.


Now that summer is on the horizon, travel is on our minds. I have a couple road trips in mind for the summer, and having the vehicle ready is part of the plan. Busy Being Jennifer has you covered if you're building your vehicle's emergency kit.



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Friday, May 20

Good morning, lovelies!

Confession is good for the soul, so grab the button and let it all out. You'll feel better when you're finished.

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I confess...

This week has felt like one of the longest in history. I don't know what it is; maybe that it has been rainy all week. It isn't supposed to be 60 degrees in May.

Maybe it's that I haven't slept well all week long. We all know how badly I need my sleep; I really need to get back on track with my evening/morning routines to fix this issue.

Nonetheless, I'm so thrilled that today is Friday, and thank goodness for coffee.


I confess...

In spite of my sluggishness this week, I did get two new items listed in my Etsy shop, Chasing Blue Jays, which means that I'm halfway to my goal this month.

I also finished and turned in my first yarnbombing assignment. This piece will be wrapped around a street lamp downtown when we do the installation. I'm now working on a piece for a tree.




I confess...

I have tasked the Mister with building me a yarn storage system similar to this one from Repeat Crafter Me. I love the bright colors, and I think the idea of being able to see all my yarn would be useful.



I confess...

Friday = Pizza Night in our house, and today also happens to be National Pizza Party Day. In honor of the holiday, I share with you puppies eating pizza. Puppy Pizza Party - Try not to smile.


I confess...

It's not in the budget at the moment, but I would love to get a Furbo, which is a treat-dispensing camera, to see what the pups are up to each day while we're at work. Admit it, you'd want to check on your furbabies, too.



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Monday, May 16

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links; I may be paid a commission from sales generated via these links. Thank you for your support of my blog.

We're now six months into our Financial Peace Journey. Like many journeys and goals that can take months or years to accomplish, there are times when it's hard to stay motivated. For me, one of the best ways to stay on track is to load up on knowledge as well as surround myself with people who are trying to accomplish similar goals.

If you're new to a frugal lifestyle or wanting to get out of debt, I thought a peek at what on my bookshelf might be helpful to you.


The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
I guess this is a bit of a no-brainer given that we took Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University class last fall. This is the first book that I recommend when friends have asked me about starting a budget, paying down debt, saving to buy a house or any other financial matter.

Living Well Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life by Ruth Soukup
I actually purchased this book on Kindle since Ruth's book and blog posts kept repeatedly showing up in my blog and Pinterest feeds. Aside from giving a lot of great information that helped me focus on being more content with where we are right now, I really liked that she includes varied practical examples of how to incorporate each secret into your life.


Money-Making Mom by Crystal Paine
One of the keys to accomplishing our financial goals includes increasing our income. Given that I own an insurance agency, write and manage two blogs and wanted to start an Etsy shop, reading Crystal's book on the process of creating and building a business simply made sense. Crystal wrote this book for us ladies; it's going to be a reference for women in small business for years to come.

Retire Inspired by Chris Hogan
We're not at the investing Baby Step of our journey, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't be planning for retirement by putting a face on what we want it to look like. Dreams vary wildly from one person to the next, and so does the amount of money needed to make them happen. Chris's book is helping us identify what we want in retirement so that we can be sure we've properly saved for it.

By the way, I met Chris when he did a book signing in Greenville earlier this year. He's a really nice guy.


Looking to the future:

Love Your Life, Not Theirs by Rachel Cruze.
Dave Ramsey's daughter has a new book releasing in November that will focus on money habits to help you love your life, not what we're comparing ourselves to on social media. I definitely plan to pre-order and read this book; I expect it will help me a lot during the holiday season next year.





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Friday, May 13

Good morning, lovelies!

Confession is good for the soul, so grab the button and let it all out. You'll feel better when you're finished.

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I confess...

The other day, I got to jujitsu and found that there were no underwear or athletic shorts in my bag. I usually try to wear boy shorts rather than whatever pretty lacy stuff I have on because I have heard stories of someone getting pants-ed during some of the more complicated throws.

I totally made the Mister loan me a pair of his boxer briefs. Wearing men's underwear felt kind of ridiculous. Which do you think would have thrown the guys for a loop more in the event of a wardrobe malfunction - my Victoria's secret or me in boxer briefs?

I confess...

Speaking seriously about jujitsu, I think I've officially begun prep for my black belt exam. My training in the last two weeks classes has been running some specific lists in anticipation of testing; during some classes, I'm being "quizzed" for name recognition. I've also identified some "problem arts" that I want to fine tune to feel more comfortable before the test.

On Wednesday, we started discussing possible partners (we called it an uke) for who I would demo the arts on during my exam. This whole situation is getting real, and even though the exam isn't until October, I'm starting to get butterflies in my stomach from test anxiety.


I confess...

This has been a busy, busy week, but mostly because I almost fell behind on my massage homework. We're now at the point in our class where we have to give a specified number of a practice massages between classes.

There was some confusion about whether these had to be on students from the dojo who have already taken the class or whether we could work on friends and family. In the last three days, I have given five practice massages. I have one more scheduled tonight, and then I'll be all caught up for our class tomorrow.

I still think I must have been a little crazy to take this course, which culminates in an exam the same weekend as my black belt exam.



I confess...

In between all of the work, jujitsu, and massage, I've been trying to finish up some new items for my Etsy shop. These pretty flowers are simply waiting for some photos before they get listed. Then I'll be working on a few pieces for July 4th.

A photo posted by Aubrey (@chasingbluejays) on


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Wednesday, May 11

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. Through no extra cost to you, I may be paid a small commission from your purchases; thank you for your support of my blog.

Hello, fellow winos!

Welcome to Wino Wednesday! This is a monthly linky party where we discuss any and all things wine-related. First, let's cover the ground rules for the party:

  1. Grab the Wino Wednesday party and slap it on your post.
  2. Link a wine-related post to the linky party.
  3. Make some new friends over a glass of vino.
  4. Mark your calendar to join us for Wino Wednesday on the second Wednesday of each month.

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Easy peezy. Now on to the wine.


 I'm still waiting for someone to send me this pinata.


It would be fun to have a fiesta soon, but for now, I'd be happy having a good cookout with some sangria. Strawberries are in season here, and this sangria recipe is likely going to happen at our home soon. Wouldn't it be lovely to share a pitcher of this on the patio with some friends?


Here's another fun seasonal drink that I want to try.



Do you have a favorite sangria recipe? Please tell me in the comments because I'd sure love to try it.


Want to play along? Link your Wino Wednesday post below. Please comment after linking.




Wino Wednesday: Monthly Party at High-HeeledLove.com

P.S. If you enjoyed this post, you might want to consider following my Wino Wednesday board on Pinterest. We'll see you at the next Wino Wednesday, which is the second Wednesday of each month.




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Monday, May 9

Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, I may be paid a small commission from sales via these links. Thank you for your support of my blog.

If you are new around these parts, the Mister and I took the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University course through our church last year. We have a goal to pay off half of our consumer debt this year. You can catch up on our journey by checking out our previous recaps:


April Budget

Let's start by addressing the fact the Mister had his trip to our jujitsu convention at the end of March. Between that and how busy I was getting ready for the art festival, we didn't have a moment to sit down together for our April budget meeting until about halfway through the month; thus we didn't have a March recap.

Between the two months, we did have to dip into the emergency fund because my laptop started to fail in March. Since I work for myself and run my business from the laptop, it had to be replaced.


April Victories

Between the emergency expense and the Mister's conference, the extra income pretty much kept us at a zero-based budget. I'd rather have that than having to put the expenses on a credit card, which is how these things would have been handled before.

I also have to give props to having faith that our needs will be provided for. We also needed a household repair that should have cost about $300. We hired a friend of ours in that industry to handle the repair.



While I was home that afternoon for the repair, I watched Amiyrah's scope about financial affirmations and completed her homework assignment. That afternoon when I tried to pay this friend, he wouldn't take any money; simply said that he wanted to help us out. How about that for the power of God?

So I'm comfortable with not making much forward progress on our debt snowball these two months since we also didn't slide the other direction. Progress doesn't always happen in a straight line. We know May will be a little slower as well since we're piling up money for paying our taxes; I'm expecting to hear from our accountant any day now.

Do you want to get started on your journey to financial peace? I'd suggest reading The Total Money Makeover or going to daveramsey.com to find a local Financial Peace University class.

What are your financial goals for 2016? What changes are you making with your money and budgeting processes this year?




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Thursday, May 5

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links; I may be paid a small commission if you use the links to make purchases. Thanks for your support of  my blog.

Hello, friends!

It's Cinco de Mayo, which is a favorite holiday for me. Who doesn't want a reason to drink margaritas and make guacamole?


Honestly, I cannot believe that we're in the month of May already. April goals didn't even happen last month; it was all that I could do to stay alive.

But I did get a lot done last month:

  • I served on the planning committee for the Cayce Festival of the Arts, and we put on a successful event. 
  • The Mister and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary.
  • I painted our master bedroom while the Mister was out of town.
  • I helped host our final professional organization of the 2015-16 plan year, including handling registration and driving our speaker to his next destination.
  • I completed another month's worth of massage class and homework, and I got promoted in jujitsu.
  • And I launched my Etsy shop, Chasing Blue Jays.

Honestly, I'm surprised that I found time to blog at all, but I did actually get a couple posts completed as well toward the end of the month. So even though most of my goals for this month are still lingering from earlier in the year, I'm comfortable with that because sometimes you just have to deal with life.


Now, I'm ready to get back on track, because I still have huge things I want to accomplish this year, which means getting back on track with the baby steps.

Anyway, let's take a look at this month.

May Goals

  • Repeat Week 3 and continue running the Couch to 5K Program. 
  • Get three lists completed in my jujitsu notebook: Shime, Goshin and Oku.
  • Give 10 massages between the May and June massage classes.
  • Add four more items to my Etsy shop.
  • Finish reading Retire Inspired by Chris Hogan; order and start reading Great by Choice by Jim Collins for my leadership event in June.
  • Broadcast on Periscope twice a week.
What are you trying to accomplish this month? Do you have any wins from April to celebrate?

The Monthly Goals


I'm linking up with My So-Called Chaos and A Peek in Karen's World for the Monthly Goals party. Click the button to link up and join the fun.




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