Monday Motivation

The Art of Love & Money - People who really want to make a difference


If you want to make a difference, be willing to make a difference to one person. Don’t worry about the whole world, the entire situation.

Make a Difference,



Packing Your Toiletries Bag

The Art of Love & Money Packing Your Toiletries

First, think of what you use daily as you get ready.  Wash your face, brush your teeth, comb your hair.  Contact lenses? Chap stick?  Lotion? Q-tips?

My husband’s includes deodorant, gel and his favorite lotion and any medications or vitamins he will be taking during the trip. Trimmers for shaving.

Mine includes cosmetics, razors, shaving cream, deodorant, hair spray.

For this trip – 13 days – I edited down my make-up bag to , my trusty L’oreal green primer, my compact Lorac POREfection Facial Powder and a Lorac pallet DTLA Los Angeles.  All of the colors I need for my cheeks and eyes in one pallet!

  • Flat White
  • Concrete Jungle
  • Art Walk
  • City of Angels
  • Leather Jacket
  • Art Deco

I will also bring a few different lip liners with chap stick and a nude lipstick.  I can mix and match the best lip colors this way!

True story, I was once listening to The School of Greatness Podcast (Lewis Howes) and Elizabeth Gilbert was the guest.  He asked what is one thing you know for sure, and she said something to the effect that mixing two shade of lipstick is always better than just using one.  I loved that.  Many of the guests give a deep, profound, soul searching response, but when she said that, I was like TRUTH.  My best color comes from lip liner and chap stick, perhaps layered and toned down with a nude.

And then last but not least, a black eye liner and mascara.

Bonus Points if you bring scotch tape for a wicked cat eye trick.

I like to pack something to easily wipe my face clean at the end of a long day.  That could be facial wipes or it could be a zip-lock sandwich baggie full of cotton balls soaked in rubbing alcohol.

For international travel, you may need to think about converters and adapters.  Europe uses a 220 volt system, while the US uses 110 volts.  Plug your devices in at the wrong power load and a quick spark is the only warning you will have that the device has been fritz-ed.  In addition, different adapters may be needed for power outlets.  Even with both the converter and the adapter, you will not be able to use your curling iron or flat iron so pick up a dual wattage travel-size version.

Also think about any medications and vitamins you use on a regular basis at home, and any that you could see being helpful while traveling.  You don’t need to go nuts and buy every over the counter scenario available, but maybe a small vial for pain relief, something for an upset stomach, and a few cough drops.  If you get sick while traveling you can always go get something at a local pharmacy, just carry enough on hand so you can get to the store when needed.

As a female, I like to have a few emergency toiletries on hand just to get me through a day and an evening before I can make it to the store.

A laundry solution like wrinkle-release and a tide-to go stick.

Some Emergen’c.

Some anti-bacterial wipes.

Sleepytime and Lemon & Ginger tea bags.

Your turn!  What do you think is the smartest thing you pack in your travel toiletries bag?

The best thing that I do is keep the bag full and loaded to go.  I only need to add in my cosmetics and I’m ready to go!

You’re Beautiful in Every Way,



Book Club Audio: When She Makes More; 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women by Farnoosh Torabi

The long awaited Audio of our first book club meeting.  Join Farnoosh Torabi, Stephanie and myself as we dive in to a little girl talk and discussion about the book and issues that may arise when the female makes more in the relationship.

This book is a guidebook to partnering well together in any relationship, regardless of who makes more.

Who here read the book?

A few months ago, I launched a Personal Finance Book Club.  You can join >>HERE<<

I had originally closed membership at 25 hoping to keep a small engaged group.

Turns out the group was quite small, and not everyone that signed up engaged or participated – but that’s totally okay because those of you who did engage were amazing and awesome – and there is now room for more of you to join if you didn’t get in the first time around.


We will read one personal finance book per quarter.  We will vote on the book selection.

You will receive a newsletter, there is a private Facebook group for ongoing discussion and encouragement, and we will meet via Zoom to discuss.  That discussion will later be turned into a podcast.


Our first selection chosen was When She Makes More; 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women by Farnoosh Torabi.

We were completely blown away when Farnoosh offered to join our discussion.  She was everything and more in that interview. Listen.

When She Makes More The Art of Love & Money Book Club
When She Makes More The Art of Love & Money Book Club

For more on the book, check out last week’s post that includes quotes and chapter guides.

Happy Listening,


Monday Motivation

The Art of Love & Money I never let my education interfere with my education

Do you chase after the education you desire?  Do you take it upon yourself to learn about things that interest you? Do you refuse to let the cost of a bachelor’s degree or a master’s program determine what you are worth?

I do.

And I want you to, too.

I read.

I look things up that I become curious about.

Last year, I took it upon myself to learn all of the United states Presidents and Vice Presidents in order.  I memorized them with no test, with no one but myself caring if I knew it.  I listened to the NPR Presidential podcast series.  I downloaded U.S. presidents flash card apps meant for elementary school kids on my phone.  I don’t know how long I will retain it, in fact most of it has probably since vanished into the ether, but it was important to me at the time, so I committed to it and did it.

In the past couple of years, I have added an education/personal development category to my budget.  I take online courses that interest me.  I believe in investing in myself.  In theory, in practice.

I can tell you that it has made a major difference in the course of my life.

This quote was inspired by this Goalcast video: The wisdom of a third grade dropout.

The video is a beautifully moving clip about wisdom, about raising children with wisdom and examples of excellence.

Not all of of us find schooling, formal training helpful, or easy, or do-able.  Don’t let that stop you.  Wisdom and education have nothing to do with how much schooling you have completed, it’s how much you follow your curiosity.

Happy Monday,


Packing For a Long Trip

The Art of Love & Money Packing For a Long Trip
The Art of Love & Money Packing For a Long Trip


Plan on washing laundry half way through a long trip.  We are going for two weeks, so we are bringing 5 pairs of pants and 7 mix and match layering shirts.

I felt this trip requires 3 pairs of shoes – my flats, hiking/rain boots, and heels.

I’d usually try for one pair of shoes for a weekend trip.  My goal is to always have flats comfortable enough to wear anywhere, cute enough for any outfit.

But, this trip is 13 days in a rainy climate where we are planning on doing a lot of outdoor activity and strolling city streets, browsing museums, and dining in a castle.

I feel that requires heels.  And heels, not great for hiking.  And, I’d prefer a nice black flat to rain galoshes when I’m touring halls that are hundreds of years old.  So, three pair it is.

I’m also bringing two dresses.  I packed my heels in their shoes box and rolled my dresses up and packed them in the box along with my undergarments needed for the special occasion wear.

I rolled up 2 pair of leggings and 5 basic color tees and placed them in the mesh on the cover of the suit case.  I’ll also roll up 3 pairs of skinny jeggings, casual dress pants – gray, black, and burgundy.  And 2 pairs of jeans and 2 sets of active wear for hiking activities.

If you are counting with me, you know I am already way over my quota, but I’m on a roll, so let’s just continue…

I put 13 pairs of underwear and a few socks in a small mesh lingerie bag.  I’ll bring a second bag for dirty undergarments.  I’ll bring a mesh laundry bag for what will not be re-folded and re-worn.

We’ll be staying at a hotel for 3 nights about halfway through the trip.  We’ll send our laundry out in this bag the second day there.  It’s more expensive than washing it ourselves, but no hassle and less expensive than paying more for overweight luggage.

I’ve also got an a linens bag that our sheet set came in.  I saved that in my lingerie drawer for just such an occasion.  I packed all my lingerie and my swimsuit for hot tubs in this linen pouch.  That will also be stored in the mesh lining of the suit case.

All my sweaters and tops will be in the main compartment.

I’ll wear my bulkiest shoes on the plane along with my coat and a layered comfortable outfit for the plane ride.  Most likely black yoga pants and a long sleeve tee, cute but casual and cozy enough to sleep in, but chic enough stroll around town before check-in.

Your turn!  What are your best packing tips and tricks?  Have you mastered packing light?  How many shoes does one trip really need?

Pack Your Bags & Let’s Go!



Book Club: When She Makes More; 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women by Farnoosh Torabi

When She Makes More The Art of Love & Money Book Club

Who here read the book?

A few months ago, I launched a Personal Finance Book Club.  >> Join << to jump in on the next book selection.

We will read one personal finance book per quarter.  We will vote on the book selection.

You will receive a newsletter, there is a private Facebook group for ongoing discussion and encouragement, and we will meet via Zoom to discuss.  That discussion will later be turned into a podcast.

Our first selection chosen was When She Makes More; 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women by Farnoosh Torabi.

We were completely blown away when Farnoosh offered to join our discussion.  She was everything and more in that interview.  You can here the audio next week.

1_We have arrived
Rule #1 Face the Facts
2_Pick up his socks
Rule #2 Rewrite the Fairy Tale
3_No one way
Rule #3 Level the Financial Playing Field
4_one big family
Rule # 4 Hack the Hypotheticals
5_All jobs have value
Rule #5 Cater to the Male Brain
6_collective strength
Rule #6 Buy Yourself a Wife (and Other Tips to Avoid Domestic Drudgery)
7_high performance
Rule #7 Break the Glass Ceiling but Carry a Sheild
8_invest in your mate
Rule #8 Plan Parenthood…from Conception to College and Beyond
9_moneymaking girl
Rule #9 Grow a Thicker Skin
10_raise my glass
Rule #10 Remember to Breathe

Want more?  Download the The Art of Love & Money Chapter Guides-When She Makes More and grab the book here.

Want even more?  Get on the book club newsletters and you’ll be invited to join our next Zoom session.  >>JOIN HERE<<

What’s a book club without a cocktail or two?

The Art of Love &amp; Money Book Club - Mimosa
The Art of Love & Money Book Club – Mimosa
The Art of Love & Money Book Club - Margaritas!
The Art of Love & Money Book Club – Margaritas!



Motivation Monday

The Art of Love & Money To hate is an easy lazy thing

Today, listen to your thoughts in your head.  Break them down into one of two categories.

Is this love?

Or is this hate?

Focus on the love, turn the hate into an act of love.

Not the feeling of love, but the verb of love.  Make the choice, take the action, choose love.

Planning a Trip

The Art of Love & Money Planning For a Trip

Let’s talk about planning for a big trip, shall we?

Say a big, dream trip.  A trip of a life time.  We have a big trip coming up that I can’t wait to share with you all, but for now – let’s talk planning.

The first stage is the day dreaming.  Where you figure out your Why, what makes your heart beat faster, what fulfills and calls to you.  This could be one of your Top 5, or it could be something that you came up with while writing out your plan for the year, or plan for the season.

Determine if you are driving or flying.

If you are driving – are you taking your own car or a rental car?

If you are flying – what dates are you going?  What airline are you flying?  Are you playing the credit card game? *

*Proceed with extreme caution.

I do usually apply for the airline card.  I book that plane ticket and the travel expenses with that card.  I then pay off the balance in full immediately afterward with the savings account that I have set aside for the trip.  I use the card while we travel – and then I pay the card off in full when we return home.  If there are any bonus points I can use from that airline – I try to use them for a seat upgrade.  I don’t like to hold onto my points because I don’t travel often enough to know that I’ll use them before they expire.  This is not a travel credit card hacking site.  Good for you if you do this and love it, it’s not for me at this point.  I also don’t want to sway anyone down that road because I don’t know enough about it, and I’m generally against credit cards.  A few people use them responsibility, but they wreak havoc for so many people that I just don’t think they are worth the risk.

I use Google flights to pick the cheapest date range to fly and then I book the rest of my plans – hotel, car rental, etc.

Next, I obsessively stalk the area online, scoping out all of the things I want to do when we get there, where to eat, and any specifics I may need for that area.

Check your passports early.  It can take 6-8 weeks if you need to get a passport so do this early on.  Did you know that passports can be limited within six months of their expiration date?  A family member of mine recently had a trip planned to Sicily. When they tried to board their flight, they were informed that they could not let them gain entry to the country because their passports would expire in four months.  They were only planning to be there for a couple of weeks, so they had no idea that this would be an issue.  Thanks to their travel nightmare retelling, we checked the official rules.  So check your passport and the country that you are traveling to rules and when in doubt – renew before your trip.

Photos can be taken at any Walgreen’s.  I like to freshen my hair and makeup first.  You keep these photos for 10 years!  My husband and I like to do this together and then go out for a drink or a nice dinner to toast to our upcoming travels.

There are very specific requirements.  No exaggerated smiling.  No showing your teeth.  Keep you ears in view – tuck your hair behind them if need be.  And they need to be a specific size and zoomed in so that your head is a specific size.

Fill out your passport form slowly and methodically.  Have another person check it over to make sure you didn’t miss anything.  Then I like to check it again at the post office before I send them off.

The passport can make or break your life time trip so this is a big step.

Now comes all the fun stuff – pinning and itinerary planning.

Set up a Pinterest board and pin all of the best tips, restaurants, blogs, and ideas.

In the final weeks before you depart, make notes on your travel documents for what days you’ll do what and where to eat on those days, etc.  You can always ditch these well-thought out plans for spontaneity that day, but, I’ve learned that having a plan and some narrowed down suggestions make for a better trip.  There is nothing spontaneous about scouring trip advisor for reviews while at your dream destination.

Make copies of the credit cards you will be carrying and your passports, along with all of your travel documents.  If you have access to a scanner, you can scan them to .pdf files, password protect them, and save them to a jump drive, and store them in a draft email so you can access them from your phone.

Leave a copy of your itinerary at home so your loved ones have access to it if need be.

Not to be morbid, but my husband and I will often write a general plan for our estate, have it notarized (my office manager is a notary) and leave it at home.  Just a quick instruction as to who we wish to raise our children and how we’d like to leave our possessions behind.  Totally not necessary if you have an up to date will and estate plan, but worth the time if you don’t.

If you need any currencies – plan ahead for that.  If you have an account at Wells Fargo, you can get foreign currency there – but you may need to call ahead.  They only have so much on hand in the registers.  The afternoon I was there they only had about 200 Euro and a one hundred pounds…. mostly in larger denominations – no coins.

Your turn!  Gimme all of your best travel planning tips & tricks.





Reverse Budgeting

The Art of Love & Money Reverse Budget

What is Reverse Budgeting?

It’s when you allocate the most important priorities and values in your life and put the money in those categories first.

When you put the bulk of your money where you want it to go before you begin spending on anything else, it’s reverse of how society spends – impulse first.

Sad Truth:  Money is finite. Time is finite.  There is not enough for everything you want to do, so if you don’t put your most important ones first, you won’t get to them.

I think the best way to determine your priorities is to sit in a few moments of quiet and really think about what is the most important to you.  Day dream a little bit, and then think ahead to what you want to be remembered for and what memories you want to have to look back on.

Jot them all down, and then group them into categories.

Review with your spouse if you are married, or your partner if you have one.  Being on the same page with your values is key to being able to live out your intentions.  You may need to compromise on some of these, but now is the time to determine the compromise.

Having a plan laid out helps when impulse comes around and one of you – or both – of you are ready to jump on something.  When that happens, you can agree to a cooling off period of a few days and a review of your priorities to see if it is in line with your values.

To make it visual, group your categories and fill in the pyramid we talked about last week in Reviewing Your Expenditures.

The base of the pyramid is what you determine sets the tone for all else in your life.  In other words, if these key things are in place, all else is right with the world.  You may want other things, but you don’t need them, and having them in place makes it possible to do all other things.

The peak of the pyramid is the top of the mountain, if you have made it here, you are feeling on top of the world.  Being here means that you have not only achieved your financial goals, but that you have reached deep and came out victorious.  You have accomplished great things personally and professionally to be able to afford yourself these luxuries.  You are proud of these things, you deserve a little reward for all of your effort, and you have no reason to feel guilty for enjoying the fruits of your labor.

The middle of the pyramid is somewhere in between these two spectrum.  Work your way up the ladder.

The Art of Love &amp; Money Our Financial Hierarchy
The Art of Love & Money Our Financial Hierarchy

Financial_Hierarchy_Blank << Download FREE blank hierarchy pyramid so you can create your own.

I love this quiz for determining what YOUR financial priorities are.  List all the things that are most important to you when it comes to how to spend your income.  The options will be automatically generated against one another until your priorities are prioritized for you based on your responses.  I did this several years back and it was a real eye-opener, plus it helped me to focus with intensity on one or two things, accomplish those goals first, and then get to the other less important items.

Once you have these details hammered out, it may be helpful for you to prioritize your budget categories in the budget to match.

Fill in the Budget with the Bottom section of the pyramid coming first.  Do nothing else with your money for the month before this money is allocated.

Work your way up the pyramid, going down the list.

When money comes in all of the most important categories get filled first, then work your way down.  I’m not saying that you won’t enjoy anything frivolous in the meantime, just that if you put the most important items first, and splurge with what is left you will make your goals a reality over time and you will have built a stable financial life for the future.

I did this, and it was an important exercise, in what comes first, but as a full disclaimer, I like my old budget category layout better.  However, I still feel this exercise forces you to choose how you spend your money in what order comes first in your priorities, and if the budget is tight and you can’t get to all of it, I think this could be a helpful layout. Print it out and keep it with your pyramid worksheet as a visual reminder.

The purpose of this financial journey is to do what works for YOU.  I did this, it didn’t feel like a good work flow for my monthly budget, so I took the insights I gained and went back to my old categories.

Let me know how it feels to you!  I’d love to hear from you.

ACTIONABLE STEP: Download the free Financial_Hierarchy blank  copy to guide yourself through your financial priorities, sit down with your spouse and determine now how the money will be spent as it comes in the door.  Use this worksheet to talk to your kids about wants versus needs.  Set up your budgeting categories based on your hierarchy of financial needs – just be sure to save a copy of your working budget so that you can go back to it later if you prefer. Take the financial priorities quiz!

Be Awesome~


zoom I’m still offering online Zoom sessions with anyone who wants to go over their budget categories so hit me up for that if you are interested.  What’s my angle?  I want to know what works well for other people.  I already know what works for ME, but I am always interested in guiding you on a path that works and learning new tidbits along the way.





Motivation Monday

The Art of Love & Money Hardwood grows slowly
The Art of Love & Money Hardwood grows slowly

“Hardwood grows slowly.” – Jewel

Take the time, build it right, do it slowly, don’t take the short cuts.

“One of the best pieces of advice I got was that ‘hardwood grows slowly.’ Things that last take time. Hardwood will live 100 years, but it takes a long time for that to mature, whereas a softwood grows within weeks.”

For more checkout this podcast: No Limits with Rebeca Jarvis interviews Jewel