Ireland – Behind the Scenes

The Art of Love & Money - Ireland Behind the scenes - How much the trip cost

So, you want to go to Ireland?  Want to know how much a trip like ours cost?

The Art of Love & Money - Ireland

I can show you.  I can show you so that you, too, can take your dream trip off of the shelf and make it happen.  My goal is to help hard working, ambitious people do what they love, what they have always wanted to do with their money.

Below is a behind the scenes look at what we did to get there once we started to take action on it, and not just say we’d like to go there someday.

First, we started by saving.  We saved for this trip a few times.  There were a couple of times that our kids had needs above our own, and we always prioritize our money with our kids’ needs and the well being of the family ahead of our travel plans.  You can read more about our hierarchy of financial priorities here.

When the time had come that I was confident we had set aside enough to pay for the trip, we began the researching stage.  Pinterest, travel blogs, Groupon deals, local travel agencies, internet travel agencies, airline flights – I gathered the data in my head, printed out prices, made a file and compared the prices to the Capitol One 360 savings account set aside for travel.  I had seen some packages for $1700 per person and then I added $1,500 for airfare as a guess…when we had about $4,500 in the savings account I was ready to begin booking – and I continued setting money aside in the travel account in the meantime.

Airplane Tickets

I bought airplane tickets in mid-August.  First, I determined how long we could afford to stay, by pre-pricing the trip for the dates we had in mind, I checked around a few blogs and asked the travel agent about how much money we would need for spending money.

The flights to Europe are down, I had been hearing – so I thought – now is as good a time as any!

The flight is often the biggest investment of time and money so our general travel philosophy is to stay as long as we can on one flight.

I did a Google Flights search and signed up for Next Vacay to track pricing.  When I was happy that we had the lowest price I had seen, and got the email from Next Vacay that there was a direct flight from Chicago to Dublin,

I booked.  I signed up for the Airline credit card to earn the bonus points.  I’m not sure this was worth the hassle, yet, but I did it.  I’ll let you know if I ever use these bonus points.

We used American Airlines Citi card and the sign up bonus was 50,000 points if I spent $3,000 on the card in the first three months.

After signing up for the card, I booked the flights on American Airlines using the credit card and AA rewards numbers I signed for my husband and myself.

2 Roundtrip, non-stop flights to Chicago: $1,052.52.
AAdvantage Miles Reported to American Airlines: 2,306.
2 points earned for every $1 on American Airlines. 1 point earned for every $1 spent elsewhere.

Trip Itinerary

Lodging including a Full Irish Breakfast, Car & GPS Rental, Some excursions

I searched travel companies high and low for Ireland tours.  There are a ton of options from Groupon Getaways, a myriad of internet travel agencies and the local mall travel agency had 3 different touring options that they offered me.  As I mentioned in this post, the first thing you need to decide is whether or not you are comfortable driving or would you prefer a group tour?

We decided to go with Authentic Ireland because they focus only on Ireland, Scotland and England and I am a sucker for their branding – I mean, who can turn down authentic?

Authentic Ireland  has an office in Dublin and one in the U.S.  My travel agent was based in California and that is who I dealt with on an ongoing basis.  While in Ireland, it was helpful to me to be able to email the local Dublin office.  First of all, their timezone was inline with mine while abroad, but more importantly, the on-the-ground knowledge and experience of living in and traveling the country regularly.

This proved especially helpful when Hurricane Ophelia swept in from the Atlantic while we were there.  We stayed safe, but the news coverage had us questioning the practicality of traveling on the roads and power outages in areas along the route.

I finally pulled the trigger on the trip when we booked the airline tickets and I had confirmed dates.

I paid the $100 down for the travel agency and then waited to pay the remainder of the balance when it was due in full – 30 days before departure.

I did this in place of trip insurance. The travel agency has a cancellation period that will hold your deposit so that you can re-book if you have to cancel your trip.

It was a bit of a gamble, and I think I’d recommend trip insurance the next time around.

Trip insurance would cover the cost of the trip AND the airline tickets AND anything else that could go awry while away, but it does add a few hundred dollars to the bottom line.  I had no intention of cancelling, but you never know what could go wrong.  This was the only time I had done without trip insurance and I was second guessing myself when the third hurricane to hit Ireland since they began records in 1854 was brewing in the Ocean before we departed the U.S.

Authentic Ireland 13 Day self driving tour: $2,590
AAdvantage Miles Reported to American Airlines: 52,956.
2 points earned for every $1 on American Airlines. 1 point earned for every $1 spent elsewhere. 50,000 points if you spend at least $3,000 in the first 3 months.

Spending Money

We took the AAdvantage Citi card with us on our trip.  We used it for every transaction – food, entertainment, pubs, you name it swipe, swipe, swipe.

Lucky us – our credit card statement ended a few days into our trip so we came home to the first portion of the bill from the trip.  We came home from our trip, unpacked our suitcases, got settled in and opened our mail to discover our damage.

The first five days had cost us $648.65.  In my head, I had accounted for about $100 a day, for 13 days, so I was estimating $1,300 spending in total.

When I called to make the first payment and found that the trip total, including reimbursement for two excursions canceled due to high sea was $1,754.74.

Spending Money: $1,754.74
AAdvantage Miles Reported to American Airlines: 1,755
2 points earned for every $1 on American Airlines. 1 point earned for every $1 spent elsewhere.

So, as you can see, we went over our spending money pretty significantly.  When we travel we do, eat and drink what we want without regret.  Having the money set aside upfront in cash allows us to splurge.

We did bring Euros and British Pounds since we were also visiting Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.  We used the cash for tips and cab/bus fare everything else was a credit card transaction.

2 Roundtrip, non-stop flights to Chicago: $1,052.52.
Authentic Ireland 13 Day self driving tour: $2,590
Car Park Chicago, IL: $138.56
Pocket Cash: $300 converted into Euros ($250) and British Pounds ($50 for 2 days)
Spending Money: $1,754.74
For a Grand total: $5,835.82

Which does NOT include the clothes and shoes and travel accessories we just had to buy for our trip.  Or the Jumper cables we had to buy upon return because we didn’t have enough time to disconnect the battery before the shuttle to the airport upon departure, or the new tires that my husband’s car needed the week before we left.

Note to self:  Just like a house renovation, add 10% to the cost of the trip for unexpected expenses that will come up.  I tend to set aside an additional $1,000 in the travel fund because my spending pattern is save, save, save, SPLURGE.  Know thyself.  And plan for it.

It also doesn’t include the left over pocket change we still have to exchange.

But it does include the kennel stay for our sweet Coco.

If this trip seems out of reach to you, don’t despair!  We travel more high-end than our at home daily lives, but that doesn’t have to be the case for you.  You could go for 7 days instead of 13, or you could stay in B&B’s all of the days instead of the luxury hotels.

Check out Nomadic Matt of more budget friendly trip itineraries and tips.

Total AAdvantage Miles Reported to American Airlines:
2 points earned for every $1 on American Airlines. 1 point earned for every $1 spent elsewhere.

So, that’s it.  A peek into the cost of a trip of a lifetime.

Except I hope to do a trip like this every year from now on.

Next week I’ll show you the math on why I don’t recommend using credit cards to pay for a trip unless you have the cash to pay for it upfront, and how to get that cash set aside for what really matters to you.



ACTIONABLE STEP:  Is there a trip you have been meaning to take?  Start researching the cost today.


Monday Motivation

An rud is annamh is iontach.

Pronounced: On rud iss an-niv is ee-on-tach(k)

Translates: The thing that’s seldom is wonderful.

Isn’t it true that we, as humans quickly become accustomed to nice things and wanting things to fall a certain way (in our favor, for sure)?

But, I do believe that you can’t fully appreciated the beauty of the hills without the dark shadows of the valleys, that certain moments in life are more precious the fewer and farther they are in between.

For instance, my husband rarely buys me flowers.

I know! It’s baffling to me, too.  Since I love flowers more than anyone else I know.

There are women who get magnificent – large, artfully arranged flowers from their husbands so often that they sometime haven’t even cleared away the old vase before another one is delivered.

But not me.  I get flowers very rarely…

but when I do?


Even the grocery store bouquets are wonderful.

Maybe it’s when you drive to work and hit all of the green lights, or when your favorit uncle comes to town, maybe it’s when you get high praise from your boss.

May you experience something wonderful today,


ACTIONABLE STEP: Think about what is rare and wonderful in your world.  Maybe for you, it’s a snowfall.  We get snow often here in the Midwest and everyone’s favorite pass time is lamenting the cold weather, but if you live in Georgia and you get snow – Hooray for everyone – it’s a white Christmas!  Comment below what is rare but wonderful in your world.

I think it’s a great idea to learn something about the place you travel, to take a bit of the culture and sayings with you when you go.  Ireland is a land of many sayings and phrases.  The Gaelic language is not something that I picked up on – although I did look up how to say hello, thank you and goodbye before we departed for our travels, the only phrase that comes naturally to mind is Sláinte, which is said as “Cheers!” before a drink, but means “Good Health”.
I found all of these sayings after my trip, although I did have many an Irish man say different phrases and try to teach me how, repeat after him.  I, sadly, can not remember them.
 I looked these all up on the website Gaelic Matters.  I encourage you to go and read  through the website.  It is fantastically well done with a wealth of information on the Celtic culture and the Gaelic Language.  The Gaelic Language is in danger of becoming unknown and we were told while we were visiting that people are now enrolling their children into lessons to keep the language alive.
The old sayings are charming, full of wisdom and wit, and these Motivation Monday series are meant to honor the spirit of the people of Ireland.


Ireland – Where to Stay

The Art of Love & Money Exploring Ireland Where to to Stay

My husband and I recently returned from our trip to Ireland!

We began our journey in Dublin, then drove to Belfast, on to Mohill (County Leitrim), then to Salthill (County Galway), Killarney, Blarney, Waterford, and Celbridge.


I will recommend a few of the places that we stayed – our favorites along the route.

These suggestions are good if you are renting a car and doing a self-driving tour or if you will be taking a bus or train from Dublin.

We rented a car on our way out of Dublin and I’m not gonna lie – it was a wee bit scary!  I mean, thank God my husband was there to drive me because I don’t know that I would have been able to do it.

The independent woman in me hates to admit that, but, I want to be totally upfront.  If you have never drove in another country before – on the opposite side of the road, with roundabouts at every intersection going the opposite way that the roundabouts at home go, with country roads the width of an alley with shrubbery, hills or stone walls at the very edge of the line lane – you may just want to know what you are getting yourself into.

That said, everything was totally fine and I didn’t see a single accident while we were there.

Just saying.

First decide – are you driving or no?

Then are you comfortable taking a bus or a train?

Then decide on your overnight locations.

Without further ado, our favorite accommodations:

The Ashling Hotel, Dublin City Center

Photo Credit: Ashling Hotel

A 4 star hotel in the heart of Dublin, easy walking access to a good bit of the city.  Dublin is a safe, walk-able city and even on the night that we walked 15 minutes in the dark along the river, I was unafraid of being out roaming about.  We walked to and from Phoenix Park, The Red and Blue Bus hop-on/hop-off stop, The Guinness Storeroom, Nancy Hands, as well as the pub district on Capel Street after our Yellow Umbrella Pub Crawl Tour.

The front desk staff was very helpful and friendly, gave great directions and travel tips.  The full Irish breakfast that was part of our package was extensive and delicious.  The room was big, nice, and clean.  There was a hotel bar that came in  handy the night of the storm when the whole country was on red alert. But would also come in handy for the last few night caps if you don’t want to be stumbling around unsure of how to get home after a few too many Guinness.

Lough Rynn Castle, Mohill, County Leitrim

Photo Credit: Lough Rynn Castle

I can’t say enough good things about the time we spent here.We only stayed for one night, but it would be absolutely fantastic to spend a long weekend here.  The staff is top notch.  We had a blast at  the bar.  We had a fancy  sit down meal planned for this night, but we ended up meeting several groups of people at the cocktail bar and before we knew it hours had passed – we missed the walk around the grounds, the afternoon tea, and the whole getting ready-for-dinner bit.

Good thing that they offer delightfully tasty pub food at the bar!

The next day we did enjoy a stroll about the grounds, even though it was raining.  It was so lovely!

We were literally romping about in the rain, thrilled by every nook and cranny.

Our room was clean and a sufficient size.  The bathroom was luxuriously updated.  I would have loved to have seen the bedrooms done up with old four poster beds and stately furniture to match the hotel facade, but honestly we spent so little time here that it was no bother.  (I did look up the rooms on the website after our stay – and some of the rooms are just as I would have imagined with the four poster beds.  So if that is important to you, make sure you book those rooms in advance.)

I wouldn’t trade our day here for anything, but if we could have stayed longer, I would have thoroughly enjoyed a sit-down tea one afternoon and a 5 course meal another evening.

Salthill Hotel, Salthill, County Galway

Photo Credit Salthill Hotel

A 4 star hotel across the street from the Atlantic Ocean.  You can easily walk along Galway Bay’s shores everyday of your stay.  The rooms were clean, a good size, and comfortable.  The full Irish breakfast included in our stay was quite nice.

The front desk staff was helpful in giving directions and suggestions of what to do and where to eat.  May I just say – the front desk staff is perhaps the most important element of a hotel stay?  Looking back, the assistance from the front desk staff makes or breaks the entire city experience.  Especially when you travel without a data plan, good directions and great recommendations can really optimize your visit.

At this location, you are walking distance to Salthill downtown, and a bus away from Galway City Center and Quay Street.

Do go down to Quay Street at night!  Pubs have live music, shops are open late, and there are street performers  filling the cobbled streets with excitement and wonderful music around every corner.

Salthill is great location for driving bits of the Wild Atlantic Way and a day trip to Connemara National Park & Kylemore Abbey where you can take in Western Ireland’s delightful landscape along the route.  It was about an hour and a half each way – so I’m sure there is closer lodging to the park, but the drive was very enjoyable and perhaps our favorite day for seeing the countryside.

Celbridge Manor, Celbridge, County Kildare

This 4 star hotel is a hidden gem.  I don’t mean that lightly.  Our GPS did not even register the town of Celbridge – so without the help of a young girl at a Gas Station, we would have never found our way. Be sure to have printed driving directions before you set out to this destination.

We arrived after a very long day of sight seeing and it was a sight for sore eyes!

I wish we could have stayed longer.  I almost would have cut my sight seeing short just to be able to be here during daylight hours.

Celbridge Manor is a stately old manor with modern conveniences.  Our room was more than generous in size and comforts – including a large claw foot soaking tub!  Be sure to take advantage of this no matter how late you arrive or how early you depart in the morning.

We were completely captivated by this hotel – which is really saying something because we were not thrilled with the booking choice practicalities.

We had to leave the hotel before 6 am to catch our flight. We arrived after dark.  As we neared Dublin (the airport departure) we took our exit.  We then drove 20 + minutes down dark and narrow windy roads in what seemed to be the opposite direction of Dublin.

To complicate matters, in the morning, the Hertz rented GPS did not take us to the correct Hertz location even though there was a button specifically for Hertz Dublin Airport location. Again – you’ll want printed driving directions for the airport.  This is *not* the time to be unsure of where you are going and what time you will get there.

The GPS brought us to the city center.  We never did find that location and finally ditched the idea as time was slipping away from us – seeing as there were no airplanes in sight and no room for a runway.

In retrospect, I would recommend dropping the rental car the night before and staying in a hotel near the airport and letting the front desk calling a cab to drop you at the Dublin Airport – especially if you are not a seasoned traveler.  The Guarda (Police Officer) we asked directions to the airport to chuckled and said you picked the worst spot in the city to drop a car off.

Alternatively, just ask the front desk to print directions to the airport for you before you go.  I really did not think this was necessary because before we even checked into the hotel, I had looked up Hertz Dublin Airport – and got a destination time – and we set aour departure time accordingly.

That said – be sure to have an extra day in your itinerary to explore Celbridge and stay in the lovely manor hotel.

I am still not over the fact that we didn’t have time to explore the grounds in the daylight.

Photo Credit: Celbridge Manor

We stayed in a few B&B’s along the way too.  If you are interested in those locations – shoot me an email and I’d be happy to share information on those as well.  We enjoyed the owners and the experience of staying in a B&B. The locations of the B&B’s were not in walking distance to the town centers and staying in a house felt a little like sneaking into Grandma’s house after dark – but that’s just us.  I do think the B&B’s were lovely and had a unique charm.  It’s also a great way to bring the price of your trip down when you are on extended holidays.

Sláinte chugat,


Sláinte chugat. (sounds like Slawn-cheh ch(k)oo-at) Cheers, literally translates Good health to you.

ACTIONABLE STEP:  Go on and explore Ireland virtually.  Check out the places listed online.  Daydream a little.

Ireland – The Emerald Isle

The Art of Love & Money - Ireland - TheEmerald Isle

As you may have guessed from Monday’s Motivation – My husband and I just returned from a trip to Ireland!

It was every bit as lovely as I imagined and even the poetic name The Emerald Isle seems unable to cover it’s vast array of beauty.  The pictures we took, as amazing as some of them are, left us empty and longing for the ability to capture it all and take it home with us.

But beauty can not be tamed and put in a box, packaged up like a souvenir and sent to an address to sit on a shelf, it can not.

It must be lived.

It can only be observed.  It must stay where it is found, there for all to experience and enjoy.

I hope you get to go there someday.

Which begs the question: Who is Ireland for?

Ireland is for you if you like greenery.GreenTreeIf you like wide, open space, fresh air and a ‘little’ mist on your face and in your hair.

GreenryOpenSpacesIreland is for you if you love old Cathedrals.ChurchIreland is for you if you like Castles.

KylemoreAbbeyIf you like dilapidated old structures and ivy crawling over them.ShedIreland is for you if you like the Ocean.OceanGrassyShoreThe Wild Atlantic Way and the rocky, pebbly, or sandy shores and the waves that lap upside them.OceanRockyShoreIreland is for you if you enjoy waterfalls.WaterfallIreland is for you if you like stacked stone walls and buildings.

IMG_9715Ireland is for you if you like green rolling fields and flocks of sheep dotting the pastures.SheepIreland is for you if you love Celtic crosses, roadside cemeteries, old stones and mausoleums.CemetaryIreland is for you if you love people.  The people are fantastically lovely, every bit as warm and friendly as we were promised.  They are happy to share their history, their politics, their way of life, their best road trip tips, their favorite travel stories, their restaurant picks, directions to the next attraction, and suggested stop off along the way.

Ireland is for you if you like pubs.RedDoorPubIreland is for you if you fancy a Guinness and/or a Smithwick’s!Smithwicks-GuinnessIreland is for you if you like Whiskey.WhiskeyIreland is for you if you like Irish Coffee.IrishCoffeeIreland is for you if you appreciate street art.WallArtIreland is for you if you like colorful entries.GreenDoorIreland is for you if you like stories, fairy tales, and fables.  If you enjoy having your leg pulled, and quirky little punch lines told with a twinkle in the eye.GrassHutIreland is for you if want an adventure, but don’t speak other languages (other than English).  The signs are in Gaelic and then English.  There is just enough mystery and foreign differences – the brogue, the phrases, the currency, the road signs and driving on the opposite lane – to make you feel totally in awe, while still being able communicate and ask for directions.

We began our journey in Dublin, then drove to Belfast, on to Mohill, County Leitrim, then to Salthill, County Galway, Killarney, Blarney, Waterford, and Celbridge.

The Art of Love & Money Ireland 2017 Overnight Locations

There were day trips to Newgrange Monolithic Burial Sites, Connemara National Park, The Cliffs of Moher, The Ring of Kerry, The Dunbrody Famine Ship, and the Irish National Stud & Japanese Gardens.

The Art of Love & Money - Map of Ireland Trip 2017
The Art of Love & Money – Map of Ireland Trip 2017

13 Glorious days.  13 days could never be enough, but it was a good beginning.  Even if you can eek out just 7 days, I encourage you to go explore the magic that is Ireland.

Sláinte chugat,


Sláinte chugat. (sounds like Slawn-cheh ch(k)oo-at) Cheers, literally translates Good health to you.

ACTIONABLE STEP:  Go on and explore Ireland virtually online.  Daydream a little.


Monday Motivation

The Art of Love & Money - He who travels has stories to tell

An té a bhíónn siúlach, bíonn scéalach.

Pronounced: On tay a vee-on shoo-loch(k), bee-on skay-loch(k)

Translates: He who travels has stories to tell.

Is the best part about travel done while traveling?

If you plan a trip for a few months or years before you go, some of the excitement is done beforehand.

If you spend time reminiscing and telling stories about your travels – it stretches out the enjoyment to well past the time your passport has expired.

The memories made, the photos captured.

If you get to travel all of the time, maybe the best part is done while traveling, I don’t know – I’ll let you know when I get there 😉

Some days you have to remind yourself to savor the moment.  Pinch me, I’m here!

But, in all seriousness, some of the best stories are bad travel stories Tim Ferris and Cheryl Strayed muse over this on his podcast when he interviews her.  Tim also talks often about his trips he plans with his family and how it brings him joy, fulfillment, and something to look forward to all year long.  I couldn’t agree more.

But this particular saying also resonates with me that travel enriches our lives, not just for the moment that we are standing in awe of a particular monument, but of the times we get to share the peculiar stories of adventures with each other, with our children and grandchildren.  Travel makes for a richer, fuller life, with more stories to tell.

Sign me up,


ACTIONABLE STEP: Tell someone a story today of one of your travels.  And head on over to Tim Ferris’ podcast and listen to his interview with Cheryl Strayed.

I think it’s a great idea to learn something about the place you travel, to take a bit of the culture and sayings with you when you go.  Ireland is a land of many sayings and phrases.  The Gaelic language is not something that I picked up on – although I did look up how to say hello, thank you and goodbye before we departed for our travels, the only phrase that comes naturally to mind is Sláinte, which is said as “Cheers!” before a drink, but means “Good Health”.
I found all of these sayings after my trip, although I did have many an Irish man say different phrases and try to teach me how, repeat after him.  I, sadly, can not remember them.
 I looked these all up on the website Gaelic Matters.  I encourage you to go and read  through the website.  It is fantastically well done with a wealth of information on the Celtic culture and the Gaelic Language.  The Gaelic Language is in danger of becoming unknown and we were told while we were visiting that people are now enrolling their children into lessons to keep the language alive.
The old sayings are charming, full of wisdom and wit, and these Motivation Monday series are meant to honor the spirit of the people of Ireland.

Packing Your Carry-on

The Art of Love & Money Carry On

For a long trip, I will always check a bag.  I like to be able to bring all of my cosmetics and lotions and liquids.  That said, the carry on will still hold some essentials.

Clothes for the next day in case your luggage gets lost.

Snacks for the plane.  One bag of extra small peanuts or pretzels ain’t gonna do it.

  • Kind Bar
  • Pretzels
  • Cheez-its

Gum for chewing in the ascent/descent to keep ears for popping.

Any electronics or cameras – I like to keep these on my person.  This trip we are trying out my brother-in-law’s GoPro4.  Any tips for us newbies?

This is our first overnight flight so I got us a few goodies to help us sleep more comfortably in flight.  I usually can not sleep on the plane.  My husband, could sleep in a busy restaurant if left to sit long enough, me, not so much.

Cabeau Evolution Travel pillow & Mack’s Ear Plugs recommended by Tim Ferriss.

Light weight silk sleep mask & a pair of compression socks.

Books.  I love to go to a used book store and stock up.  I don’t spend much on the paperbacks and I can ditch them if need be – and I don’t care if they get some sea spray on them.

Small Notebook.  For day dreaming/planning.  Perfect for when everyone else is snoozing or watching a movie.  I can think to myself and get my thoughts, dreams, and plans down on paper.

Magazines.  For when you can’t concentrate on a book, but are not into sketching down ideas and SkyMall has already been flipped through cover to cover.

Itinerary.  Perfect time to finalize last minute details, brush up on minutiae, map out routes.

Travel Docs and Identification for easy access.

Your turn!  What are your favorite tips and tricks for packing a carry-on?

Come Fly Away With Me,



Tribe Spotlight – Alicia Schiller

Hello & Happy Wednesday!  Today I want to take a moment to shine a spotlight on my friend and a member of the So Money Nation as well as The Art of Love & Money Tribe.

Alicia Schiller was recently featured as a guest co-host on  So Money Episode 641.

Oftentimes when stepping out of your comfort zone and doing things that you have never done before the absolute best returns are the people you meet.  People you would have never had the opportunity to meet otherwise.

For me, personally, this blog and the book club that I run are not so much about the blog posts that I write, or the spreadsheets that I create, or the downloads I share, or the endless amount of tech skills that I am learning along the way – although it is really cool to look back and see how much I have created and just how much I have learned in the short amount of time I have been doing this.

It is about the people that reach out to me and how we connect with one another.

Alicia is that person for me.  She was the first to respond to the ‘Connect with Me’ button on the book club newsletter.  She told me about herself, and shared that she and her husband are working on building their emergency savings.  She was thinking about getting a side hustle to support that goal.

It’s not just any side hustle, though.  It’s a mission that is close to her heart that supports other people’s desires to change career paths.   Alicia has a unique skill set and background that is honed to help you stand out in the job search.

Alicia and I share a lot in common.  It’s been a pleasure to connect with her – someone I would have never crossed paths with if I didn’t go after this crazy little idea in my head.  We are both self-described personal finance junkies, and we both are big fans of the      So Money podcast by Farnoosh Torabi.  In fact, Alicia found me and my book club when I had the killer opportunity to co-host an episode of Ask Farnoosh, which prompted me to start this blog as well as the book club.

Throughout our email exchanges we have encouraged each other in our side hustle goals and I encouraged her to write in to co-host the So Money podcast with Farnoosh as well – she is an avid listener and had actually already attempted to write in to the show previously, but had encountered a technical problem the first time.  As you will hear in the intro to the episode, Alicia says that being on air with Farnoosh is a dream come true.

Think about that.

She could have missed this opportunity if she didn’t follow through on it.  She had applied and ran into an error and had set it aside.  I’m not saying that she would never had followed through on it without encouragement from me – I am by no means the magic.  But I do believe that connecting with like-minded people who share your ambition, to share your biggest, wildest dreams with – things you may not share with people in your daily life because it is too scary, people who encourage you to take actionable steps and follow through with your plans are the magic.

It’s that simple.  It’s not easy by any means.  But it is that simple.

Without further ado, please come along with me as we listen to Alicia’s podcast with Farnoosh Torabi, So Money Episode 641.

You may remember her from another blog post Motivation Monday – Career Advice.

The Art of Love & Money - It's never too late to be what you might have been. - George Eliot
The Art of Love & Money – It’s never too late to be what you might have been. – George Eliot

Alicia is an independent career advisor who helps her clients take a closer look at the job search process including how to stand out, networking, negotiation.  Her services are all about her specialized niche of helping people to hone in on how they can stand out in the job search for a new career.

You can connect with Alicia at

Alicia and I are brainstorming a career advising mini-series for my podcast – so if you have any topic you would be interested in or have any questions for us, reach out to us at

Get out there,


ACTIONABLE STEP:  Reach out and make contact with someone outside of your day to day life.  Step outside of your comfort zone and do something that you have always wanted to do, even if it seems a little crazy and you have no plan for where to go next.  Find someone you can tell your biggest wildest dream goals to and encourage someone else to follow through with theirs, too.  If you don’t know who that would be, think about what influencers you currently follow or groups that you belong to on social media.  Contact me and tell me what your biggest plans are and more about yourself – I’d love to hear from you!

>> Listen to Alicia & Farnoosh <<




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,