Monday, October 30, 2023

October Goals Recap

 October was another whirlwind month! Let's see how I did with my goals.


  • Stick to our budget. - nope, college application fees, SAT prep & some other tutoring killed the budget.
  • Use three "hard to use" freezer or pantry items - yes! All of the chicken sausages & hot dogs were used up, as well as some hoagie buns that were on the verge of needing to be tossed out of the freezer.
  • Stick to our travel budget in Hawaii - yes
  • One fun activity with each teen - not me, but my parents did lots of fun stuff while they were in town. I'm so grateful for their help, and how they are so engaged as grandparents! Volleyball matches, football games, Ross shopping, dinner out. They are awesome!
  • Have two meetings with each teen - so many discussions! All about colleges, for both boys. 
  • Help Sam with college applications - WOOHOO! So much progress was made. Only two applications remain. This was a huge, huge, huge work item for the month. I'm so happy we made this much progress. 
  • Finalize Hawaii plans - absolutely!
  • Have a fabulous trip to Hawaii with M - it was one of our favorite trips ever. 
  • Plan a menu for the month - yep. I'm sticking with it loosely, as my parents ate a few things, left a few other things, etc. I'm also trying to reduce waste. 
  • Deep clean one item/area in the house - nope. I forgot all about this. 
  • Run 30 miles - I ran 24 miles
  • Follow the No S diet, entirely when not traveling. And, loosely when traveling. - eh, very loosely on both sides. 
  • Complete 10 strength training workouts - I completed 11 
  • Attend a pickle ball clinic - yes! I enjoyed it so much I went to two clinics. 
  • Clean up the garden - I've done quite a bit of yard work, getting rid of leaves, dead heading all of the flowers, etc. 
  • Start learning Farsi - I started, but have practiced pretty minimally. 
  • Do something social with friends - my parents were here this month, & I was in France for part of the time, so giving myself a pass. Plenty of social moments. 
  • Give away 20 items on Buy Nothing - yes
  • Try a new recipe - no, I forgot about this one as well. 
Overall, I'm pretty pleased with my progress. I set the bar reasonably low, but was able to achieve most of my goals, which makes me happy. What about you? How did you do with your goals for October?

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Sunday Things

 Yesterday's workout class really tired me out (this week is part of an "extreme" workout challenge), so I was not super energetic for the rest of the day. ;-)

I made cheater gyros for dinner (meat from Costco), so it was mainly just assembling sides. Nick isn't a huge fan of this gyro meat (although, randomly Greek food is his favorite, he doesn't like the flavor of this particular one), so he had a naan grilled cheese instead, with all of the sides. 

Sam & I worked on college applications for hours & we have submitted the first half of the applications!!! Woohoo!! It was a pretty big milestone, and he's been working on some of the essays since this summer. What a relief. The ones that remain either have very separate essay requirements, or you can't submit via the Common App. I also spent a small fortune on application fees, but I was happy to be at the phase where we were actually paying & submitting. 

As for today, here's what I'm up to:

  • Another workout class (and, one tomorrow, and then I'll be finished with the challenge)
  • Help Sam with college applications, which will take a minimum of 2-3 hours
  • Prep crockpot carnitas
  • Pick up chicken broth, which I noticed we're out of & need for my recipe
  • Laundry
  • Talk to the kids/M about plans for Thanksgiving, Christmas & Sam's graduation trip. 
  • Clean the house (always a treat)
  • Sweep outside
What about you? What are you up to today? 

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Saturday Happenings

Happy Saturday! We are definitely still getting back into the swing of things, post a fabulous vacation to Hawaii (big island, near Kona). It was an incredible vacation, and we had an amazing time. 

It was the most gorgeous place we've ever been. Stunning views around every corner. We hiked in a lava tube, explored the crater floor (Volcanoes National Park), hung out by the pool (first picture), had fabulous dinners, played pickle ball, & I took lots of yoga classes by the beach. (Third picture is the view from yoga). When we have the time together, I'm always reminded of how important it is to get the time to connect. It was fabulous!

We are deeply back into reality, with college applications, work & the like. Here's what we're up to today:

  • I'm heading to a workout class soon
  • M is taking Sam to a soccer game in the city
  • I need to clean the house
  • Work in the yard
  • Update our menu
  • Laundry
  • Do some budget catch up
  • Sam & I have a three hour block for college applications
If I get all of that done, I'll be thrilled. What about you? What are you up to today?

Friday, October 27, 2023

Frugal Friday

A double week, as we were out of town last Friday.  

Saving on things we buy

  • Bought a few things we needed at the grocery store, and uploaded my receipt to iBotta. I stocked up on the juice Nick prefers for smoothies, as it was on sale & had an iBotta offer. Saved $3.65 via iBotta. Paid for everything with Amex gift card. 

Earning money

  • Gave another coworker an international upgrade for two, and received another gift card as a thank you. 

Avoiding spending

  • Returned a jacket I bought for Paris, and didn't end up needing, as the weather was much warmer than expected. 
  • We got upgraded to a nicer room at the hotel we stayed at. 

Eating what we have

  • I defrosted a container of butternut squash soup, and M had this with leftover chicken one night. One more container out of the freezer!
  • We made lots of progress eating freezer items, with Nick having one of the hoagie buns with a hot dog (both from the freezer). Sam & I finished off the chicken sausages.
  • Sam invited a friend over for a late lunch one day, and I threw together cheese quesadillas, chicken tenders, two pears & a bowl of strawberries. Other than two chicken tenders, they ate everything.
  • Sam's eating habits can be a bit erratic, as he takes a medicine that makes him not very hungry during the day. His appetite comes back late into the evening, so he often rummages the fridge, and/or makes himself something late at night. As a result, he's been cleaning out leftovers, so we've been avoiding food waste on that front. 
  • M grilled kebabs & rice when my parents were here, and we had that for dinner our first night.
  • For the second night my parents were here, we had grilled burgers, and avoided takeout. 
  • My parents & the boys ate the banana bread I made for breakfast/snacks, so there is more room in the freezer now.
  • I cobbled together a very easy dinner last night, as it's been busy returning to "real life", post vacation. 

For others

  • Made a donation, & submitted the form to get it matched by my employer.
  • Similarly, added my volunteer hours from the soccer club to my work hours, which then get matched at $10/hr by my employer.
  • Added one of M's friends to an upgrade list for two of his flights, in an attempt to not waste my international upgrades before they expire. 
What about you? Any wins to share?

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Travel credit + gift card inventory

 I realized that we are sitting on a ton of travel credit, gift cards, vouchers, etc. I was worried about losing them, letting them expire, etc, so I spent some time organizing everything in my spreadsheet, and once I added up the total, I was shocked by how much we had. 

How did we get so much? We've had a few trips where we've canceled/change the date/switched to another airline, so those result in travel credit. This adds up quickly when you have multiple passengers. We also have vouchers for delayed/canceled flights. And, M has been picking up Alaska & Southwest gift cards, when they are available at Costco. 

All told, we have $7,400 of gift cards/vouchers! That's pretty crazy. $3068 is for Southwest, $2837 for Alaska, and we also have a large Amex rewards card that we were given, and have $1260 on that. The rest are just small amounts for Starbucks, Chipotle, Subway, etc. Now that we've added it up, it will be much easier for me to remember to use it all, and I've gone through & organized the Southwest ones (we have a bunch of small credits, and you need codes for each one), so they should be quick to use up & track. 

While I was working on that, I decided to update our tracker for our airline & hotel rewards programs for all four of us, and apply a value ratio (you can find these online) to see how much we have across each program. It's good to track, because the value of these tend to decline over time (e.g. flights take more miles to book, they increase redemption amounts needed for hotel rooms, etc) & found that we have close to $12k in value there. I was also very surprised by this. I tend to not book using rewards, as trips where you use miles or points don't accrue status, and in the last couple of years, I've been focused more on ensuring I was maximizing status offers from work, not on the redemption side. This was a good reminder to start using those up. The boys also have a decent amount of miles, which will be helpful for trips home from college, etc, assuming they aren't close by. 

I feel much more organized, now having everything tracked in a spreadsheet & at the ready when we are working on our 2024 travel plans. This should also help us maximize our reward & redemption, and minimize our spending. 

Do you track things like this? Are you typically surprised by the value? 

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Sunday things

It was a full day today! I had a bad dream last night (I do not recommend the news before bed), so I was up bright & early. 

I spent the majority of the day with Sam, working on college applications. But, I got a few other things done during the day:

  • Orange Theory workout class
  • Made two loaves of banana bread (one with chocolate chips, one without), to use up a bunch of overripe bananas. Dropped off 1/2 a loaf of banana bread to our neighbor's house. She's an elderly woman, so doesn't like too much of any one thing, so 1/2 a loaf is perfect for her. 
  • Two loads of laundry (or, loaves, as I originally posted) ;-) 
  • Multiple hours of yard work. Our internet went out, so we had a forced break on college applications. I was able to dead head a bunch of plants, sweep, & pull weeds. I filled our entire yard bin, which is quite large! 
  • Cleaned the bathrooms & kitchen. 
  • Ordered new sports shoes for Nick: tennis & soccer. Both of his existing shoes have sizable holes, as he plays for many hours.
  • Made my schedule for next week + a workout plan
  • Priced out Thanksgiving travel (so expensive!)
That's it from my side. What were you up to today? Hope you had a lovely & productive day. 

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Saturday Happenings

 Yesterday was an intense day. Lots & lots of drama & uncertainty at work, combined with very stressful current events. It was the boys school homecoming game (they separate the dance from the game) & provided extra security & police presence due to the current situation & some threats received. We had quite a debate as to whether the teens should attend, but in the end, Nick opted to go & Sam opted to come home. We had a very lively dinner discussion & he was a pleasure to chat with.

I was really stressed out yesterday, so opted to do two hours of yard work before I made dinner. It helped so much. It was a visible improvement, physical work, & got me out of my head thinking about things well outside of my control. The weather was also gorgeous. We don't have yard service, and do a cleaning service very irregularly (occasionally when I travel), so there's always plenty to do around the house. 

We tried out two Trader Joes risottos last night - one was the standard asparagus version, and for M I made the cauliflower rice risotto with butternut squash. It was nice to have both options. I served them with garlic butter shrimp as the protein. Sam eats almost everything, other than shrimp, blue cheese & mushrooms, so he had a hot dog on the side, which didn't really go with the theme, but served as a protein. 

As for today, here's what I'm going to be up to:

  • Attend a workout class
  • Help Sam with the Common App (college applications)
  • Laundry
  • Pack for Hawaii
  • Make banana bread
  • Vacuum
  • Both boys have soccer games
  • Clean bathrooms
  • Work in the yard
  • Organize the freezer 
What about you? What are you up to today? What's your go to distraction activity when you are stressed?

Friday, October 13, 2023

Frugal Friday

It's been a hard week for everyone. Tracking frugality doesn't seem super useful, but trying to stay on my day to day plans.

Saving on things we buy

  • Used an Amex gift card (it was quite sizable, so you'll see this one for a while) to buy groceries at our local store + Trader Joes. We were out of a lot!
  • Used a $.50 coupon to save a bit on tortillas, which have gotten outrageously expensive
  • Uploaded receipts to Fetch, and saved a bit extra
  • Bought chicken for $7 off/package at Costco, and chose the smallest size available (it wasn't a per lb discount).
  • Bought ground beef on sale at the grocery store, for $2.29/lb
  • Uploaded a $.50 reward to my digital account for the local grocery store
  • Flights around the holidays are most certainly not cheap. I priced out a bunch of options this weekend, and initially booked with Alaska, as we had a flight credit, companion fares & stored credit (discounted gift cards purchased at Costco). However, two days later, Southwest dropped their fares, so I cancelled & rebooked via Southwest, using exclusively gift cards/LUV vouchers & travel credits. Unfortunately, we now have an even larger Alaska balance, but it saved a total of $550, which was worth the hassle. I've now tracked all of the Alaska credit in our spreadsheet, to ensure we use it on time. 
  • Reached out to the hotel where we'll be staying to see how expensive their workout classes are. Taking fitness classes when we travel is one of my favorite things to do. Their classes are $25/each, or you can buy a pass for $75 for unlimited classes. I definitely know which one I'll be doing! I'm setting a goal of doing six classes, both because the classes sound fun & will be great to try, and also because I'll definitely be getting my money's worth at that price. 
  • Saved $57 by signing up for a credit card merchant reward (you basically browse them on the credit card portal, & "save" any that are of interest. Once you make the purchase, you are automatically credited back whatever percentage of savings was offered.) This was for an expense I knew was upcoming (paying for a hotel as part of our France trip). I knew it would be a large charge, so I researched to see if any cash back offers existed with my credit cards, then opted in & tracked to ensure I got the $57 credit. 
Earning money

  • Nothing happening on this front, aside from our standard W2 jobs. 

Avoiding spending

  • The boys had homecoming last weekend, and the suits they wore to a wedding no longer fit (the trials of having teens), so they were both able to wear clothes from Michael's closet. Luckily, everyone is roughly within the same size range. 
  • We discussed takeout ahead of homecoming, but I whipped up a quick/early dinner at home, before everyone left. 
  • Packed a lunch before leaving for a six hour trip for a soccer game (six hours included the drive time, & game itself). I made Nick an early lunch, and packed a variety of easy things for myself: peanuts, some jerky, a pear, a banana & a piece of banana bread. This saved us from buying lunch out, which most of the families did. 
  • Similarly, I prepped dinner before we left for the game. I marinated chicken for chicken shawarma, and cut all the sides. M got home before I did, so he baked the chicken, and we were able to avoid takeout or a less healthy option. 

Eating what we have

  • I found some orzo in the freezer, and paired that with some chicken & fruit for a quick lunch.
  • Found ground beef on sale (above) & made five pounds of taco meat. One lb for dinner this week, and the rest for the freezer. 
  • Made applesauce muffins (applesauce made from apples I received off of Buy Nothing) for the freezer. 

For others

  • Uploaded my receipt to "Box Tops" and earned $.40 for the local school
  • In fun news, I gave away the last of my Euros to a neighbor on Buy Nothing. A few hours after she picked them up (porch pickup), she messaged me to say that we were attending the same neighborhood potluck, & I got to meet her in person. What a fun treat. 
How about you? Any wins to share?

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Credit card review

Edit: I wrote the last few posts over the weekend, and had them queued up to post. I received a comment about why I didn't post about Israel. I'm as horrified by the news as anyone else, and have coworkers who have lost family members. It's devastating. Also, to the commenter, please leave my kids nationality out of it, because there is no relationship of any kind. 


This isn't a sponsored link, just my own $.02 based on trying something this year. 

It goes without saying that the below only applies if you are comfortable managing credit card usage (it doesn't encourage you to "spend more" than your current system) & you are paying off the balance each month.

We applied for a new credit card this year, in advance of our Dubai trip. I took recommendations from friends, as well as did my own research, given the card has a super hefty cost ($550/year). Here are my takeaways, as well as value assignments. Note that I don't think this card would be worth it, unless you are a frequent traveler. We ended up with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

  • You get the first $300 of travel spend credited back to you - $300
  • It came with global entry for one person, which we used for Sam. Sam is 17, and his TSA pre check will stop applying when he's 18 when we travel as a group. Also, for college, he may be traveling on his own. Global entry provides the international benefits, as well as TSA pre check - $100
  • We also received a subscription to Priority Pass, which is an airport lounge access affiliation. We have used the Priority Pass in the following ways:
    • To pick up food at SFO ahead of our flight to Newark, as there was no lounge access in our terminal. Instead, you get a credit at a restaurant in the airport - $28/2 people = $56
    • Four times at SJC, ahead of domestic flights - $60
    • In Dubai - $80
    • I used my Priority Pass membership in Paris, to get my friend into the lounge. I was able to get myself & my sister in, based on status, but you only get one guest - $30
  • Lyft discounts - $40 or so
  • Door Dash discounts (you get a $5/month credit, but I don't always use this) - $20
  • Received a 60,000 bonus after the first four months. I used online calculations for this, as we haven't "spent" this yet - $900
So, all told, the cost for the first year was $550, and we've so far received $1586 in value. For us, this has been a great card, but again, I'd recommend this for folks who have plenty of travel queued up in the year ahead, for maximum value. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Value of airline status

This is more for myself, than anyone else, as it helps to remind myself that there are perks for all of my travel status. Making the most of those perks can certainly have a financial value, but it goes without saying that chasing airline status is 100% not worth it, unless you have a very clear reason. 

In my case, work pays for the majority of my travel with United, and I ended up with two international personal trips (which, is two more trips than I've had in the last 20 years ;-)), and a few small local trips. I currently have 1K status, and am on track for 1K status next year as well. Having that status may influence timing of our next trip to see M's family. 

Here's the value I've currently earned, as a result of my 1K status. Cost value estimates are my own magic math, so take them with a grain of salt:

  • Upgrade on a flight to Pasco/SFO (round trip for myself + M) - $400
  • Upgrade for my sister, both ways from Portland to SFO/back - $400
  • Upgrades for myself + M from Newark to Dubai, to business class (this was a double upgrade, first to Premium Plus, then to business. It's basically unheard of, but 40 people missed their flights due to weather on the east coast) - $3000
  • Upgrade for myself + M to Premium Plus from Dubai to Newark - $1000
  • Upgrades for the boys to economy plus from Dubai to Newark - $500
  • Upgrade for me to first class from Newark to SFO - $500
  • Lounge access in Paris for myself + guest, where we had breakfast + coffee - $40
  • Gave a coworker an international upgrade voucher for two, and she gave me a gift card as a thank you - $200
  • My airline status earns me a corresponding hotel status at Marriott. As a result of that status, we were upgraded to a better room/patio in Nice - $500
  • Upgrade to business class on a return (work flight) to London in November, using plus points - $1500
  • Increased miles earned - $1000 (I used a guide online to calculate this, so very much an estimate)
Total value of the status to me for the year = $9,040. This guide calculates the overall value of my status as worth $7,455, but we got lucky with a few pricey upgrades clearing for the Dubai trip, as well as the work trip to London.

I actually still have upgrades to use, and no travel (not already in business class) through the rest of the year, so I will likely offer these up to coworkers. One of my coworkers offered his upgrades to the boys (how they got business class from Newark to Dubai, which was a life experience for them ;-), so I like to pay it forward. 

Do you have any travel status that you track or pay attention to? Hotel chains, car rentals, airlines? I used to have status on our preferred domestic airline, but they really haven't been competitive vs Southwest over the last few years, so we haven't used them as much. 

Monday, October 9, 2023

Menu Plan Monday

 October is another wild month for us, so rather than doing a weekly menu, I thought I'd try to plan out the month. Let's see how we do:

Friday (10/6) - boys at Homecoming, I had leftovers from the freezer

Saturday (10/7) - ground beef tacos

Sunday (10/8) - spent most of the day in Monterey for a soccer game, so chicken shawarma

Monday (10/9) - leftover tacos

Tuesday (10/10) - risotto (freezer) + cauliflower risotto (M) with garlic butter shrimp

Wednesday (10/11) - leftover shawarma

Thursday (10/12) - any remaining leftovers

Friday (10/13) - wings & gyozas

Saturday (10/14) - grilled chicken + rice

Sunday (10/15) - grilled burgers + roasted potatoes

Monday (10/16) - leftover chicken & rice

Tuesday (10/17) - parents in town. Chicken fajitas

Wednesday (10/18) - parents in town. TBD, based on what my parents request.

Thursday (10/19) - Hawaii

Friday (10/20) - Hawaii

Saturday (10/21) - Hawaii

Sunday (10/22) - Hawaii

Monday (10/23) - Hawaii

Tuesday (10/24) - Hawaii

Wednesday (10/25) - Hawaii

Thursday (10/26) - grilled chicken (freezer) over salads

Friday (10/27) - wings & gyozas

Saturday (10/28) - butternut squash, goat cheese crostini + grilled chicken

Sunday (10/29) - carnitas

Monday (10/30) - chicken tacos

Tuesday (10/31) - traditional takeout pizza for Halloween

What about you? What's on your menu for October?

Sunday, October 8, 2023

October Goals

 I'm late to the party, but better late than never! It's going to be another busy month, so setting some (hopefully) reasonable goals.


  • Stick to our budget
  • Use three "hard to use" freezer or pantry items
  • Stick to our travel budget in Hawaii

  • One fun activity with each teen
  • Have two meetings with each teen (review grades, etc)
  • Help Sam with college applications
  • Finalize Hawaii plans
  • Have a fabulous trip to Hawaii with M
  • Plan a menu for the month
  • Deep clean one item/area in the house


  • Run 30 miles
  • Follow the No S diet, entirely when not traveling. And, loosely while traveling.
  • Complete 10 strength training workouts. 
  • Attend a pickleball clinic
  • Clean up the garden
  • Start learning Farsi
  • Do something social with friends
  • Give away 20 items on Buy Nothing
  • Try a new recipe

What about you? What's on your goal list for October?

Saturday, October 7, 2023

Saturday Happenings

 I'm valiantly attempting to recover from jet lag, and not having as much luck as I'd like. But, I must press on! I did get off the wait list for a workout class this am, so heading there shortly. Other than mutter under my breath about how tired I am (my neighbors had a party with a live band until midnight. And, they are sincerely lovely & I admire their zest for life, but could have truly used an earlier bed time), here's what I plan to get up to today:

  • Workout class
  • Laundry
  • Make applesauce muffins
  • Make a huge batch of taco meat for the freezer. I have enough ground beef that this will likely be a 4x batch. Or, I may do a triple & freeze the rest. TBD.
  • Clean the kitchen
  • Clean the bathrooms
  • Clean the fan in our bedroom. This requires a stepladder, so need to sort that out
  • Vacuum
  • Make a salad for a potluck
  • Review college application checklist with Sam
  • Schedule for next week
  • Deadhead 2 plants outside
  • Find 10 items to give away on Buy Nothing
What about you? What are you up to today? Do you have a long weekend? The boys don't have school on Monday, but M & I will be working. 

Friday, October 6, 2023

September Goals Recap

September was a wild month, with an unexpected business trip to Tokyo, plus my planned trip to France. I do not recommend two international trips in one month!

As a result, it was not a particularly productive month on the goals front, but no use avoiding that reflection. Best to just review it & move on. 


  • Stick to our budget - it was a budget buster of a month. I upgraded our flights to Hawaii, as part of M's anniversary gift. Our (one) TV broke, so we replaced that. And, France was more expensive than anticipated. 
  • Use 3 "hard to use" freezer/pantry items - goodness, I think so? I'm really struggling to remember what I used. I know I used some overly ripe freezer bananas & a ton of frozen fruit, so I'm giving myself a 2/3. 
  • Stay on track with travel budget - that's a big fat no! 


  • Have one date with M - yes, we had a fabulous & fun dinner out 
  • Take Nick out - I took him to his favorite store (the sports store) & we looked around for several hours, where he made a list of things he'd eventually like. 
  • Set up weekly kid/mom meetings - I've met with each kid 1x. 


  • Lose 3 lbs - oh my, no. I'm afraid to get on the scale, post-trip. 
  • Run 60 miles - I was recovering from COVID, traveling, jet lagged & traveling again. Definitely no. 
  • Follow the No S diet...entirely, when not traveling + in Tokyo, and loosely in France - I did great when I was in Tokyo (best I've ever done on a trip), but France was a free for all. 


  • Do something social with friends - I met a friend for a workout + coffee, and had a girls trip!
  • Practice French on Duolingo - yes, most days before the trip
  • Have a fabulous trip to France - Absolutely! It was incredible. 
What about you? How did you do with your September goals?

A very short Frugal Friday

Because, well, my trip wasn't exactly about frugality.

So, in no particular order:

  • When I got home from the airport, I ordered a delivery lunch. I had no car, could have definitely made something from around the house, but that just wasn't on the agenda. Obviously, not frugal. But, I used a $5 reward for the order.
  • Baked chicken today, to serve with the other half of yesterday's lunch salad. 
  • Somehow, managed to convert almost exactly the right amount of money into Euros, avoiding the need to change back & pay a fee. I do have about $6 or so in coins, which I'll hand off to the next person I know heading to Europe. You need those coins to pay for the bathroom! Which, I admittedly still don't fully get, but nevertheless, being without change & needing to use the bathroom is a situation I like to avoid.
  • Made an incredibly lazy dinner of Trader Joes orange chicken, to feed to the teens on Thursday night. 
  • Watched two series of Ted Lasso on my sister's iPad at various points on the trip, eliminating my desire to sign up for yet another media subscription. 
  • Made the most of the coffee & free breakfast at our hotel, which was fantastic. 
  • We received a free upgrade to our hotel room in Nice, which meant we had quite a large balcony - enough for a table & two chairs + two lounge chairs. 
  • Submitted form for $100 in reimbursement for soccer volunteering. (I'm "required" to volunteer 3 hours/kid, and then get the money back in the form of soccer fees discount). 
  • I gave away a flight upgrade to a coworker, as it's clear I won't be able to use them before they expire. She got me a gift card as a thank you.
What about you? Any wins to share?

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Back from France

Oh my goodness, such an incredible adventure. I feel so lucky that my travel partners (my sister, & BFF/roommate from college) all get along well. That makes all the difference. 

I'm definitely still very jet lagged this am, so a random assortment of things;

  • The view from our hotel in Nice was amazing, and we got upgraded to a room with a patio. That was perfect, as the rooms are tiny, and we had a rollaway already added, making a small room even smaller. 
  • Our tour of Epernay (Champagne area) was incredible, and one of the highlights of the trip.
  • The weather was warmer than expected in Paris, and we had way too many pair of pants, and not enough dresses. 
  • The breakfast at the hotel in Nice (Le Meridien) was fantastic & came with a view of the ocean.
  • So much girl time & laughs.
  • We bought champagne on our tour, and enjoyed that in Nice, on the patio. 
  • We could see the Eiffel Tower from our room in Paris, and it's stunning at night.
  • We are all very much not big city travelers (good to know for whatever we plan next) & enjoyed the beach/relaxing vibes much more than the big city, despite all that Paris has to offer.
  • I'm reasonably confident I gained 4 lbs, because the food was incredible.
  • We ate at a Michelin starred restaurant in Nice, and did the lunch option, which was quite reasonable, & the food was perfection. 
  • We did laundry at a laundromat.
  • We do not speak nearly enough French to manage a train journey. After taking the train from Paris to Nice, we swapped our travel plans, and opted to fly from Nice to Paris, to catch our return flights home.
  • Antibes was gorgeous.
  • Saint-Paul-de-Vence was absolutely incredible.
I'm working today, so need to get myself sorted! And, a few pictures, from the many we took. The ones of the Nice beach are from our patio.