If you’ve ever met me in person, it’s no secret that I’m not a native Kansan.
I drop way too many “y’all’s”, own way too many sundresses, and spend too much time researching the ultimate fried chicken recipes to be considered a natural born child of the Sunflower State.
So how’d I end up living on a recently revived homestead nestled in the Flint Hills? By quite the circuitous route.
It all started in Memphis, TN – our nation’s most dangerous city. I was raised in the shadow of Elvis, half a dozen Evangelical (or Fundamentalist, depending on your political leanings) cult leaders, and the ultimate sweet sauce BBQ. Continue Reading…
Chase County, Kansas is one of my favorite places on earth.
It tops the list of places I’d like to live.
While it may not look like much according to its Census Bureau stats (less than 3,000 people, miles away from the closest grocery store, terrible cell reception, almost no infrastructure), Chase County is a community with a whole lot of heart.
Hailed as one of the crown jewels of the picturesque Flint Hills, Chase County’s strategically situated as a quiet hamlet along the Flint Hills Scenic Byway (K-177), nestled up against the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve and its impressive buffalo herds. Chase County has a ton of history, a gorgeous Courthouse, and lots of unique cultural events (ever heard of the Symphony in the Flint Hills? It’s amazing.).
Coding is a powerful skill.
It lets you create web pages, develop new sites, and even build apps.
So learning to code can give you the hook-up on amazing, Recession-proof job opportunities, increased income potential, and legit entrepreneurial opportunities that have the potential to land you the coveted titled of tech’s Next Big Thing.
But, know what else coding offers? The opportunity to give back.
Regardless of your coding skill level – super beginner to programming pro – there are multiple ways to give back through your coding experience, paving the way for new tech talent and opening doors for mission-focused organizations.
My grandmother was born in 1932, right in the middle of the Great Depression.
Her father died when she was four or five years old, leaving a young and vulnerable family with no resources. My grandmother, along with her siblings were sent to live with relatives and neighbors. The only memories my grandmother has shared regarding this particularly challenging time in her early life are a few anecdotes regarding working on the host farms in which she lived.
As our country surged through World War II and the economy began to recover, my grandmother’s life improved considerably. She became a beautician, opened her own beauty salon, traveled to NYC and Hawaii, and eventually, married a veterinarian. All the material comforts and basics securities she missed out on as a Depression era baby, she realized through the remaining 70 years of her adult life.
Forget Black Friday and Cyber Monday – let’s talk Giving Tuesday.
A relatively new campaign, Giving Tuesday was introduced by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation as a response to holiday themes of non-stop consumerism.
By shifting the focus from buying stuff to helping others, Giving Tuesday provides an awesome opportunity for people just like you and me to donate resources (time, money, food) to organizations dedicated to making our world a better place.
I’ve sworn off the post-Thanksgiving shopping activities for the past five years. Instead of standing in line for more stuff, I’ve made it a priority to support at least one organization on Giving Tuesday.
Few professional communities experience the un- and underemployment rates of today’s military spouses and caregivers.
At present, over 90 percent of military spouses are un-/underemployed, earning a mere fraction of what their civilian counterparts are able to bring in.
As a recently transitioned military spouse, I can attest that the job outlook doesn’t exactly improve when your family moves into the veteran community, especially if you’re tasked with post-war caregiving.
Such realities are the unfortunate plight of many members of the current military community. Some studies cite the ever-growing civilian-military divide, others blame poorly constructed workplace policies as the source of such widespread discrimination.
While I hope the employment struggles of today’s military and veteran families will resolve through effective community and government initiatives, the reality for many military spouses is that they need a job, like, yesterday.
You’re a family caregiver, providing must-have supportive care for an aged, chronically-ill, and/or disabled loved one.
You’re lonely, stressed, and tired.
The long-term nature of caregiving that so often accompanies today’s current healthcare system leaves you wondering if you have what it takes to keep all the plates spinning.
It wouldn’t take much – one more unexpected hospitalization, one more secondary infection, one more medical procedure denied by insurance – for all the plates to come crashing down on the floor.
If you’re like millions of other family caregivers, you worry about your loved one, you feel ill-equipped to provide 24/7 caregiving services, and you feel really, really alone. Continue Reading…
I’ve been meaning to get strategic about my money management since graduating, buying a house, getting married, starting a business, moving, moving again, moving again…and the list goes on and on.
Do you feel me?
While do-it-yourself money management has been a long-term intent of mine, it’s emerged as the ultimate back-burner project. “It’ll take too much time,” I’d convince myself. “I’ve already put it off this long – what’s another year?”
This year, I (finally) called my procrastinator self’s bluff – it’s time to get serious about some serious investments. Dancing the prelude to my Dirty Thirty, I’ve decided to put some action behind my financial well-meaning, yet previously ineffective intent, and manage my own money. Like many other millennials, I’ve got asset goals, student debt, and healthcare costs that routinely meet the catastrophic cap and have concluded there’s no time like the present to execute financial savviness.
You may recall from a previous blog post, my husband and I built a tiny house.
Just the two of us, with a budget of $1,000. Yes, I know that sounds crazy, but it turned out to actually be doable.
And now it’s almost done – done enough for a blog tour! Everything has been installed with the exception of a modern bathroom (we do have an outdoor shower with running water), a functional kitchen (good thing I married a grill master), and AC/heat source (currently going old school on this).
While our tiny house isn’t currently HGTV standards, it’s been a really educational experience (never thought I could actually build a house), along with providing a super low cost project with awesome return (thanks to my squirrel-like salvaging skills, we currently have less than $800 in the entire tiny house build).
The house provides us both a place to “go chill” and allows us a place to catch up on some uninterrupted R&R without breaking the bank or disrupting our penny-pinching savings plan.
Oh, how I love the Kansas State Fair.
For ten days in September, the little town of Hutchison welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors from all around the Sunflower State. The roadways become packed, restaurants overflow, and “No Fair Parking” signs crop up in hastily manicured terraces. A city best known for its Cosmosphere and salt mine evolves into the state hub for pretty much everything for ten epic days of all-things-Kansan.
The Kansas State Fair is an annual festival that’s been going on for over 100 years. Thanks to a multitude of helpful volunteers and supporting organizations, the state fair provides both educational and entertainment opportunities for all ages. Some of the exhibits are predictable, like the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Fisheries mobile aquarium (super cool), while others breathe new life into the annual event, like a surprise visit from the Budweiser Clydesdales (the 2015 fair rocked).