Saturday, October 31, 2015

October IS...

the best month of the year
October is full of changing leaves with every vibrant shade of orange and red and yellow
October is a month meant for all things pumpkin and all things cozy
October is a time for apple cider, but more importantly...homemade apple cider donuts

October is a month that I wish could last forever, especially when it is as good as this one
two October favorites♥♥♥
             L.L. Bean Boots & Salted Caramel Mochas 
A fun date night at the House of Blues meant being close enough to touch Bayley
And a little time spent pampering myself thanks to Lush bath bombs and a visit to the drybar 
These recaps force me to clean the photos off my phone at the end of every month. There only seemed to be two kinds of photos for October...
one being pictures of my boots with fallen leaves 
Did I mention how much I love these shoes?
and two is lots and lots of photos of a sleeping PJ 
october involved lots of healthy eats 
which is perfect to make up for trips to the Burger Shack and froyo covered in chocolate brownie pieces
more boots + leaves
pumpkin coffee and pumpkin beer makes for 
great mornings and even better nights…
and the only good part about October coming to a close is Halloween! We started off our celebrations a little early with a visit to 
there were more decorations than I've ever seen + zombies and real life witches. I can't imagine today's celebrations topping our Halloween in Salem, but we will certainly try

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


There's been a whole lot of money talk on this little blog lately. Yesterday I shared our travel budget for what we spent in California (or rather how much we saved). And today I'm linking up with budgeting bloggers to share my October clothing purchases. 

Bean Boots// Original $98

Bow Tee// Original $40 on Sale for $20 + Gift Card $0

Ankle Pants// Original $90 on Sale for $30

Leather Booties// Original $140 on Sale for $70

October Total: $198
Considering that I bought two pairs of leather boots this month, I think that I did well with my October spending. Plus, I've been really enjoying incorporating all of these new pieces into my wardrobe. 

 Yearly Total $1500-$50[January]-$160[February]- $75[March]- $317[April]-$0[May]-$30[June]-$110[July]-$170[August/September]-$198[October]=$380 remaining for the year

Based on my yearly clothing budget, I'm sitting pretty to stay on target for the year. As long as I don't make any big purchases in the next couple of months, I will stay within my budget. Let's see how it goes.   

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

What we Spent in California

Sharing one last post from our recent trip to California and this one is my favorite. I have loved using this blog to relive our experiences there, but the best part about spending a week in California is how little we paid for it. 
When Husband and I sat down last winter, we decided that we could save $1500 for a big summer vacation. Basically, we would set aside $125/month for our trip. This was manageable for us. But, in the travel world, $1500 doesn't go very far once you pay for a decent hotel and meals. As a result, we were looking at local destinations only. When I suggested California as an option, Husband said it was impossible to do within our budget. Oh ye of little faith. After pulling off this trip, I don't think that he will ever doubt me again. Here's what we spent for 7 days and 6 nights in California! 

Transportation: $87
Flying across the country is not cheap, so it should come as no surprise that the big ticket item of our budget WAS getting there. But we took care of that with a bit of travel hacking and ended up shaving just over $2k off our budget. Here's the breakdown…

Flights: $1700 $0 
I met Tom in Boston before we flew to California together. My round trip flight to/from Boston was covered by frequent flyer miles. Our flights to/from California were one of my biggest travel hacking accomplishments yet! We booked early to save on non-stop flights. Then we applied rewards points from a sign-up bonus for a travel credit card to our purchase. Bottom line…our flights were completely FREE.

Rental Car: $300 $0
Our week-long itinerary took us all over California from NAPAèSACRAMENTOèLAKE TAHOEèYOSEMITEèSAN FRANCISCO so we definitely needed a car. Again, we applied rewards points here and ended up with a free rental car.
Gas & Parking: $87
Our rental car was a Prius and the gas savings were unbelievable.
 Plus, we managed to find mostly free parking whenever we were in the city.

Accommodations: $0
Most of our days were spent outdoors hiking so it made sense to camp. Because camping is so inexpensive, it didn't take much time at all to accumulate enough points on our travel credit cards to cover the cost.

Holiday Inn Express Napa X 1 night: $154 $0
Lake Tahoe Camping X 2 nights: $66 $0
Yosemite Camping X 3 nights: $78 $0

Having spent less then $100 out of pocket to fly across the country, rent a car for 7 days, and stay for 6 nights…we had plenty of space left in our budget for the good stuff….food and adventures!

Food & Drinks: $508
When we arrived in California, the first thing we did was purchase an inexpensive cooler and make a trip to the grocery store. From all of our traveling, we have learned just how quickly eating out every meal adds up. We decided to minimize this by purchasing a few groceries. Plus, the fact that we were hiking/camping most days pretty much required that we have lots of trail-food on hand…fresh fruit, granola bars, beef jerky, plus plenty of beer & marshmallows for nights spent by the campfire.

Most mornings involved fancy coffees and inexpensive breakfast sandwiches from local cafes. 
Lunchtime almost always found us in the middle of a hike with packed sandwiches and fruit from our grocery store trip. Dinners meant eating a hearty meal out.
Food and drinks is the one category of our budget that I'm always fighting with the most. But on average, we each spent about $35 a day on meals, snacks, and drinks. We made smart choices while still really enjoying ourselves and I'm happy with our bottom line here. 

Adventures: $304
After saving so much $$$ in other areas of our budget, we had the financial freedom to pretty much do anything that we wanted while in California. Even still, one experience that we were really looking forward to was a bit pricey. 

Napa Air Ballon Ride: $430 $130
I've always wanted to take an air balloon ride and Napa is one of the best places in the world to do so. But wow! The price tag associated with it was a big pill to swallow. Knowing that we were going to California shortly after my birthday, I decided to contribute $300 of gift money to our travel fund. I had originally planned on purchasing a handbag, but I realized that the memories you make are much more important than any of the things you own. I would make the same decision a million times over. No regrets.

Golden Gate Sunset Cruise: $110
This was our very last adventure in California and it was the perfect way to say goodbye. 

Park Fees & Hiking Permits: $64
Almost all state and national parks have an entrance fee associated with it. It's crazy to think about how minimal these fees were considering the amount of beauty we were able to witness. This covers the entrance fees for Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park, along with our permit for hiking the Half Dome. 

Other: $452
I'm not going to lie, this category of our budget definitely got away from me, especially compared to our Canada Budget. Some of the expenses in this category were expected, but many were not. Thankfully, we always plan for extra here. 

Camping Supplies: $43
Whenever tent camping, you have to pay a separate fee to access the showers. Also, we purchased lots of firewood to allow for marshmallow roasting every night.

Hiking Supplies: $240
At the last minute, we decided to pick up hiking poles to help us along our 18 mile hike in Yosemite. Not sure if we could have completed that hike without them so that was a good decision. Not so good was the fact that we had to buy Husband a new pair of hiking shoes. Somehow, we left his at home and they were absolutely necessary to safely climb the cables of the Half Dome. Poor planning always cost extra. Next time, we will definitely check and recheck our bags. Lesson learned.

Massage: $125
This last minute expense was absolutely necessary.
You hike 18 miles with strep throat and a fever and tell me that you wouldn't indulge a little. 

Souvenirs: $44
Husband and I each picked out a coffee mug during our trip. Also, it's becoming tradition for us to get a Christmas ornament from each place we go.

Total: $1351

Our total trip expenditures added up to $4k, meaning that travel hacking saved us thousands of dollars. Strategically accumulating and using rewards points from our travel credit cards made this trip feasible for us and we were actually under budget. But while we used travel cards to contribute to this trip, please know that we didn't accumulate any credit card debt in the process. In fact, we've never had any credit card debt. We simply used our resources wisely in order to make this trip possible. I really hope that sharing our budget here helps and motivates others to see that travel is more attainable then you may think. And just in case you missed any of our California posts, check out the links below 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

White Jeans & Bean Boots

I finally bought myself a pair of Bean Boots, which are pretty much a requirement for all New Englanders. Especially, when it's only October and there have already been snow flurries! 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Falling for Fringe!

I'm a terrible fashion blogger...mostly because I'm not one to follow trends. This fall alone--suede is back in, windowpane is the new plaid, and apparently those puffer jackets that add 5lbs are chic now. I can't keep up and in many cases I don't want too. I'm much more interested in wearing clothes that I love. But lately, I've become inadvertently trendy because I'm totally falling for fringe.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Review: Banana Republic Sloan Ankle Pants

I normally stay away from dress pants because I'm curvy and short (only 5'2'') so I end up looking like an Oompa Loompa
 Thick Thighs + Fitted Pants = a bad combination 
Basically, it's impossible for me to find dress pants, but I've been wanting to try the Sloan pant from Banana Republic for a while now and they finally released a design that I couldn't resist. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

snapshots [10.18.15]

Had an amazing weekend and it's about time I check in with a few snippets. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Is anyone else having trouble dressing for this Autumn Weather?
 I'm finding the mornings and evenings to be cool, but midday is beyond warm. Not quite sweater weather yet, but the changing leaves are calling for Fall clothes! 

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Salem Weekending Trials

This weekend was all about embracing Autumn and the coming of Halloween. And what better place to spend your October then in Salem Massachusetts?

Sunday, October 11, 2015

City by the Bay

Our very last visit during our week in California was San Francisco. Last time we were there, we had an amazing night out and spent a day biking all over the city. This time around, we only had a few hours before catching a red-eye home. While my instincts told me to squeeze in as much as we possibly could, we ultimately decided to slow down, relax, and really enjoy the City by the Bay.

Tips for Hiking the Half Dome

See that guy on the edge of the cliff? That's my amazing Husband and we just hiked the Half Dome! If you're here reading this, then you already know that the Half Dome is an experience of a lifetime. You also know that it's definitely not one of those things you can just show up for, it requires lots of planning and preparation. We spent many an hour researching ahead of time, so we did a lot of things right. We also did a lot of things wrong, which is why I think that it's important to pass along what we learned to other Half Dome hikers.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Conquering the Half Dome

A Bit of a Confession: 
I have a list of national parks that I want to experience in my lifetime and Yosemite is at the tippy top of that list. We were definitely upset that we couldn't fit Yosemite National Park into last years California trip, so it was the center of this years' adventure. And the only way to do Yosemite right is to challenge the Half Dome Hike, which just happens to be one the most dangerous hikes in America.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

SnapShots of September