101 in 1001: August Update

Monday, August 14, 2017


It's crazy how much can change in such a short time.  When I originally made this list, I had very little interest in our financial fitness.   Now, becoming debt free before we PCS in 2019 is our main focus in life.  I am working non-stop to make extra money, and Josh is going to be gone way more than we originally thought while we're at Fort Drum. That's OK though because we don't particularly like it here, so this is the perfect place to be hermits and focus on working our butts off.  With that being said, there are now a lot of things on this list that I don't expect to accomplish.  There are a few things that we know for sure are not happening and those are listed below.  The others I'll keep on the list and see what happens.

Completed:

Visit Ottawa: I visited on June 16th when my friend Heather came to visit.  I loved it and can't wait to go back!  It's always the places you have low expectations for that you end up loving the most!

In Progress:

Put together a financial plan and stick to it: I'm counting this as halfway done.  We have a plan, we do our monthly budgets, now we just have to stick to the plan and the budgets until we get our debts paid off.

Pay off one Student Loan: More on this one in my next financial update (coming Sept 4th), but I we are now chipping away at student loan 1 of 3.  I'm hoping to have this one paid off by time Josh gets home, or at least by the end of the year.

Do the declutter challenge: As I mentioned in my last update, I'm not exactly doing this challenge but I am still actively decluttering my house.  I've successfully downsize my closet (majorly) and I've been working on my DVD's, which has been easier than I thought.  I am currently playing the 30 Day Minimalism Game which has really helped me to stay on track with decluttering!

Inventory all of our belongings:  I am doing this as I declutter.  Once I declutter a certain area or category, I take inventory of what we have.  This is mostly for PCS purposes.  If they lose an entire box of DVD's, I want to know exactly what is missing.   This will be something I go back and do every few months due to adding and subtracting stuff from our lives.

Visit at least 10 vineyards in New York: White Heather was up we visited a place called Busted Grapes.  I'm not doing a post on it because I didn't take any photos, but it's worth visiting because the wine is delicious!   We also visited the tasting room of Otter Creek Winery in Alex Bay, but I'm not counting that yet because I want to go to the actual vineyard.   I am currently at 4/10.

Not Happening

Visit at least one new country:  We were thinking of taking a cruise to Cuba when Josh gets home from deployment, but we've made the decision to put all of the extra money towards our debts.  Getting out of debt is our number one priority right now.  Vacations paid for in cash with no stress will come after we're debt free. 

Go on another cruise, Go back to Arizona, Visit 5 new States: See above.

1000 Islands Tour

Wednesday, August 9, 2017


Heather's second (and last) day in New York, was all about the St. Lawrence River.  A company called Uncle Sam's Boat Tours, located in Alexandria Bay, offers a "Two Nation Tour" of the St. Lawrence river.  You don't need a passport for this tour because even though it goes into Canada, you never get off the boat in Canada.

This two hour tour took us through the best areas of the Thousand Islands.   A guide narrates most of the tour and points out all of the historic areas and beautiful homes along the way.   A few of the highlights of the tour are millionaires row, smugglers cove, Canadian palisades and of course, Boldt Castle.   At the end of the tour, you are given the opportunity to get off the boat at Boldt Castle and take a tour of the castle.  Since Heather had never been, we opted to do this.  Once we were done, all we had to do was hop on another Uncle Sam's boat and head back to Alex Bay.

We both really enjoyed this tour and I can't wait to do it again when my Mom comes to visit at the end of the month!






















Book Reviews: July

Thursday, August 3, 2017


I have finally started reading again.  I managed to get these books for free from BookBub and they were both very easy reads, which was just what I needed.   I even managed to cross off another state for my 50 States Challenge. (linking up here)


 I have mixed feelings on this book.  On one hand it was cute and light and just what I needed to get back into the groove of reading.  However, the main character sort of ruined it for me. I mean, we can all be a little self-deprecating and clueless but this girl was just a bit too much for me.  I also felt like there wasn't much chemistry between the two main characters.  This book was just OK.  I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend it, but I also wouldn't say not to read it.

I gave this book a 2/5 on my GoodReads.


I feel like this book had so much potential that it didn't quite live up to, but I also think it's got something to do with the target age group.   I feel like she could have gone way deeper into the issues being dealt with in this book and I also feel like the characters were a bit flat.  It was entertaining though and I really did like a few of the characters.  I think had this been aimed more towards adults, it could have been a bit better.

I gave this book a 3/5 on my Goodreads

30 Day Minimalism Game

Monday, July 31, 2017


Starting tomorrow, I am going to be playing the 30 Day Minimalism Game!  If you've never heard of the game, there is a straight forward explanation if you follow the link above.  Basically I will be getting rid of almost 500 items over the course of 30 days!

There are a few rules to the game and I will be following all but one rule.  You're supposed to discard each of the items by the end of that day, but I don't have time for that and the thrift shop is only open a few days a week so I can't take all the items I want to sell each day, it just wont work.  Also, if friends and family want one of the items, I wont be able to get it to them until September when I go home.  I will have a few boxes in my spare room that these items will be separated into until I can get rid of them.  Most everything will be donated or sold at the thrift shop on my days off work.

I will be sharing my entire journey on Instagram (link on the sidebar).  So feel free to follow along and see how far I can get in this game!


Why I'm Embracing Minimalism

Monday, July 17, 2017


Growing up, I lived in the same house.  In 18 years I never head to deal with packing up everything I own and moving.  Because of this, I never really felt the need to regularly go through my things and "purge".  When I moved down to VA for college I started realizing how much stuff I'd held on to, unnecessarily.   I donated a few boxes/bags to good will and purple heart, but since a good bit of my stuff was staying with my parents I still kept way too much useless crap.

Shortly after moving back from college I moved in with some friends and then about four months after that, I moved in with Josh and some other friends to the house in the country.  It was then that I began to realize just how much crap I really had and what a pain in the ass it was.  I started purging stuff during these moves, and then again when we moved into the townhouse, and again both before and after our move here to Fort Drum.

The Army and looming moves was definitely a huge motivator, but there are a few other factors that went into my decision to embrace minimalism.  When my Grandfather passed away back in 2007, my Granny wanted to move into a smaller place closer to family.  It took her, my Dad, uncle, and aunt FIVE YEARS to go through all of their stuff!  From that, you'd probably think their house was cluttered, but it wasn't, not even a little bit.   They had a huge basement, a 2 car garage, a detached 2 car garage with an upstairs storage area, and a large attic.  All this was filled with tools, the worlds most insane gun collection, and God only knows what else.  All things that they never used and a lot of which sat forgotten for years.

Then we have another family member (by marriage) ... Hoarder is an understatement.  I'm going to keep it simple to stop myself from going on a major rant.  Their house is 4,200 square feet plus a three level detached garage, and you couldn't move in that place if you tried.  Literal floor to ceiling stuff.  It's insane.  I know I'd never be like that, but damn if it isn't a motivator to minimize!

I watched the documentary, "Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things" a few months ago and I was really intrigued by the idea.  I knew I'd never be quite as minimalist as the guys on the documentary, but I still liked the idea of having less stuff and consuming less.  I didn't do much about it at the time, but the documentary stuck with me.

Once I started listening to Dave Ramsey's podcasts, I decided I really liked listening to podcasts and I needed another one to listen to.  I began listening to the Minimalists (the guys from the documentary) a few weeks later.   The more I listened, the more I realized that minimalism really does align with my values (something they reference a lot on the podcast) and am really motivated to live a more minimalist lifestyle.

I began de-cluttering a few months ago and it feels great!  I can't wait to see where this minimalism journey takes me!

Rideau Canal: Ottawa, Canada

Thursday, July 13, 2017


We passed the Canal a few times during our day since it is right next to Parliament Hill.  They offer boat rides through the canal, which we didn't do because of time and the weather wasn't that great.  We did enjoy stopping and watching this smaller boat go through.  It was cool to see the water levels changing and the gates opening. 

Next time I am in Ottawa, I'd love to take one of the boat rides!  I've never been through a canal like this so it would definitely be an interesting experience.  Part of the canal is also open in the winter as a skateway (ice rink)!  I am really hoping to get to Ottawa during Winterlude this upcoming season, and skate on the Canal.









Byward Market: Ottawa, Canada

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


Byward Market was by far my favorite part of Ottawa!  We had actually planned to stop here first to eat lunch but we had a hard time finding it for some reason and we were starving.  I'm sort of glad we didn't find it earlier because we probably would have just stayed here all day!   There are so many great looking bars and restaurants we wanted to try.  While we were walking around, Heather spotted this place called BeaverTails and said it looked good.  I was all about it once I saw that it was something sweet.  I didn't know until later that BeaverTails are a thing in Canada.   We both got Nutella and Banana BeaverTails, sat at a nearby table and enjoyed the guitar being played right behind us.   We probably sat there for a good 30 minutes before we had to head back to Parliament Hill for our Peace Tower tour.

Next time I find my self in Ottawa, I plan to head straight to the market and spend as much time exploring that area as possible.  I'd highly recommend heading to this area for lunch or a drink .... or a BeaverTail.








Art and Church: Ottawa, Canada

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


After viewing the Parliament Building from Major's Hill Park, headed towards this cool looking glass building.  We had no idea what it was, but we intended to find out!  Much to Heather's delight, the building ended up being the National Gallery of Canada.  She's an art person but I am not so I'm the one who suggested going in (because this trip was not all about me ;)), it ended up being about $9 per person in American dollars ($15 in Canadian) so we decided to look around.  We looked around the Modern Art and Renaissance art areas (neither of us was that interested in the Canadian Native Art).   The building was absolutely beautiful and as much as I don't like art museums, I didn't mind this one.

Right across the street from the Gallery was Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica.  I'm not a particularly religious person, but I love going into older churches because they're always gorgeous, and this one did not disappoint!  It was absolutely gorgeous and there was hardly anyone in there!

I'd recommend a visit to both places if you are in Ottawa.  I'm not an art person but I love some cool looking buildings so even if you don't go inside, definitely take a short walk to see the Gallery and definitely go into the church, it's obviously free and definitely worth checking out. 














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