An eclair isn’t just an eclair when you’re trapped.

My hunny just left to get me eclairs from the store. Because he’s the sweetest guy ever, and because in my opinion, the Government has taken a teeny piece of my freedom.
 
My husband thinks I’m upset because I don’t have any eclairs. I’m not though. I’m upset because I’m trapped. I’m a travel blogger for goodness sake. I hate to sit and be at home. But I have this history that you don’t know about…
 
images-13I used to drive a taxi. Once, I turned left when there was a no left turn sign at 4am. I got a ticket.
 
Once, I ran a yellow light. I had two wheelchairs in the back, an I was afraid that if I stopped, Ron Shapland, who sadly has since passed away, or Willy Thornbrue would go careening through my taxi. I know it’s silly, I tied Ron’s wheelchair down myself, and Willy was actually on the back bench seat wearing a seatbelt, but I always second guessed myself like that. So I got a ticket.
 
Once, I switched lanes, and an egotistical police officer pulled me over and said I almost took his front end off. I didn’t get a ticket, just some attitude.
 
Once though, I was going 79 miles per hour outside of Dufer, where apparently 62 people have checked in on Facebook. I wasn’t just doing 79. I had the cruise locked in. I had it locked in at 79 because… well it wouldn’t go any higher. If you coasted down a hill it would shut off.. A police officer, hiding on a different street wrote me a ticket for doing 80. .. there’s a fine difference from 79 to 80, just sayin. Anyway, there was nobody on that road, just me and those little rolling hay looking things, not even the officer that clocked me. I know, you break a law even if there’s no one there to be hurt by it, even if no one, but the cop outa dufer gives a damn.
 
So it’s my fault I got everyone of these tickets, that’s a fact. Since then though, I’ve committed the worst crime I’ve committed in my life, and I’ve committed it again and again.
 
and again. I will commit it again. .. and probably again.
 
I drove while suspended. See I got all of these tickets, right around the time I started a new medication. A side effect of that medication was Agoraphobia. There’s no way I would have even considered going to court. I wouldn’t even say hello to a neighbor. During that time, I was honestly sure I’d die if I drove. I was sure I’d die if I crossed the street.
 
Later I figured out on my own what drug it was that did that to me, and I never took it again. I lost my job over the tickets, but I’d have lost it due to the Agoraphobia anyway.
 
Now I don’t have Agoraphobia so much, maybe a touch of social anxiety, but what I do have are all those old traffic fines, and lots of new ones.
 
See there’s this catch 22… if your driving privileges are suspended, and you drive, they pile on more and more and more fines. So what felt like a mountain it would take years to climb, now is just an impossibility. I have no hopes of every driving legal again. I’m certainly not running to the store for eclairs in the middle night, in a small town, where the police all know me by face and name.
I got a new Driving While Suspended ticket the day I went to look for my 14 year old in a meth house. Ironically, I was also told that if I returned I would be trespassed, even though I had found my reported runaway daughter on that very same porch that morning. I told the officer (Hill I think) that he’s on the wrong damn side of the law. Luckily I know the manager and he’s fine with me searching the place for my daughter should she ever go missing again.
I got another, and my car got impounded when my 62 year old dad called, a bit into his cups, on a 90+ degree day, which we NEVER have here on the coast, called to say he was lost and super hot.
I got one leaving an army Christmas party with my family, when my car hydroplaned and due to a mechanical error, flipped over n over n over. I don’t go to these court dates either though. I mean too, and then I just stress and freak out over them. What’s going to change anyway? I know I’m guilty, I know I’ll never be able to afford the multitude of fines I owe in several counties, where only one will take payments.
 
So I don’t have freedom anymore. I can’t go for a long drive when I’m sad, or just pick up and go camping.
 
I do not know why the government is aloud to bully and blackmail the way that it does. Why they don’t use a normal collection agency and normal collection methods like anyone else owed money. I want to start a petition to change that, and I’m working on it. But in the meantime, perhaps I did it to myself. But I am trapped. If we argue, I can’t leave. I can’t just pick up the keys and go to my sisters. I do drive a bike in town, and that’s actually good for my health. I do walk a bit, but I’m a big lady, and walking is really hard.
 
So sure it’s my fault, but I am trapped, and that’s why the eclairs that my husband just pulled out to buy mean so much to me, even though he did it because he thought I was upset with hm for saying he didn’t feel like going.

I absolutely want this Vacation House!

I don’t have an investor yet, but, I’m chatting with a pretty awesome businesslike fellow about it, and  I’m working on it. Here’s the plan though. This is what I’d do if I could rent, and then eventuallyFurnishing a Vacation House buy this vacation home that’s located in Warrenton Oregon. The home features 3 living rooms, as well as 3 kitchens, and 7 or 8  bedrooms. I drove up to see it, but there was a light on :O. I didn’t get out of my car, but I’m absolutely smitten with this home.

So just what would it take to flip this old lady into a vacation rental so that I could eventually buy it?

Let’s start with the homes Craigslist Description;

Seven bedroom four bath 3000 square-foot house steps to Cullaby Lake!!! The home can be divided into a Three bedroom two bath house with living room kitchen formal dining room and eating area in kitchen granite countertops new dishwasher. Also a two bedroom living room kitchen dining area and bathroom with laundry guest house. Also a one bedroom living room kitchen dining area bathroom. Upstairs a two bedroom apartment upstairs also makes a two bedroom and has one bathroom. All have separate entrances breezeway between the apartment and house but they are still attached deck above and below on 14,000 square-foot lot so plenty of parking. Has laundry hookups in house and guest house. Across the street from the lake one block from the launch ramp and a half a mile from the state park!! Gas heat and cooking and all utilities available just remodeled!!!!! Please call Casey Has 3 living rooms total, 3 dining rooms, 3 kitchens etc. Or for sale or Lease option with down. Asking price? $265,999
Or for rent.
Located just across from the Cullaby Lake. Lake access to swimming, boating, etc.

This is a great rental property or even a family estate. Move in ready!!!

Well it’s not quite move in ready. At least not if it’s going to be a vacation rental, it’s going to need some things. Lets look at the financials.

The home’s renting for 2695, first order of business is finding out if we can get that number down to 2500 even per month. For now though, because I like to keep my numbers as realistic, I’m going to assume that KC says no to that request. For the record, this entire post is to be considered guesstimation, and has no bearing on anything tangible, or realistic. Meaning, don’t go buying my dream house, following my formula, and then suing me if it doesn’t work. I guarantee nothing :D.

$2695 First month’s rent
$2695 Deposit
$2695 Last Month’s Rent (There are alternate options here).
$5000-$10,000 furniture budget (See below for details).
$10,000 Hot Tub Installation (Rough estimate from prior experience, this is necessary for maintaining ROI)
$2000 Licensing budget. (This is a super high estimate, it includes incidentals like new electrical outlets should they fail.)
$2000 VRBO Advertising Budget (Last i saw this it was closer to $1k, but i’ve left some wiggle room).

Ongoing Costs

  • Utilities
  • Cleaning – Passed to Tenants
  • Transient Tax – Passed to Tenants
  • 2695 Monthly Rent

Estimated Gross Income

$500(262)= $146,000.00
($500 a day (a low estimate) multiplied by about 80% occupancy which is pretty average.)

Setting up a Vacation Rental

  • Space #1 Described as: 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, living room, kitchen, Formal Dining.
  • Space #2 Described as: two bedroom guest house with a  living room,  kitchen,  dining area and bathroom with laundry.
  • Space #3 Described as a one bedroom living room kitchen dining area bathroom.
  • Space #4 Described as a two bedroom apartment upstairs also makes a two bedroom and has one bathroom.

So that’s 4 rentable living spaces,  each with its own entrance. If the county requires a bed and breakfast style rental, which it doesn’t look like is the case, then you’d have a living space and three rentable vacation spaces.

So Let’s get this thing furnished! I’ll say right now, the #1 searched amenity is a Hot Tub, so that’s a must. After that, I’ve been on the line with vacation planners that have searched for suites where each room has a King Sized bed, and there just really aren’t any. So that’s what we’re going for.

In the main three bedroom, there’s a formal dining. We don’t need that, so that will become a room with bunkbeds to add more sleeping space. Here we go:

The add says we have seven bedrooms, but my count is 8, so just in case, let’s plan for 8. The bedding  and sets of towels would likely be more reasonably priced at Ross, Tj Max, or at Freddies on a Home Sale day, but for today, so we have solid prices in mind, we’ll use Amazon for those too.

Setting up Vacation Rental Bedrooms

Setting up a Vacation Rental Kitchen, or 3

The Living Rooms

$822.97 3 Sectional Sofa’s (On Clearance, WooOT!)

Extra’s

  • $44.85 Outdoor Lighting
  • 2 sets of bunkbeds (until we find out if there is room for more!)
  • Bikes
  • Canoes
  • Foosball
  • Kayak
  • BBQ Grill

…. OR .. Rent 3/4 of the home as long term rentals, while those 3/4 pay for the furnishings of the other 1/4, until the home furnishes itself! The largest foreseeable problem with this plan is not meeting the landlords deadline on the lease option. 

So, assuming we’re going with the Vacation Rental idea, that involves an investor. How does that look? 100% of startup costs fall to the investor. The gross proceeds are then split into 1/4ths. 1/4th goes to paying back the initial investment. 1/4 goes to the investor as passive income. 1/4 is reserved to pay operating costs and improvements, and 1/4 goes to me to save to buy the home. After the initial debt is paid off, the investor continues to get their 1/4 for 5 years, or until I buy the home, and I then receive 1/2. In five years, or when I own the home, the agreement would dissolve :D.

 

Bloggers and Vloggers – Get more Followers, Shares Likes, Comments, and Motivation!

I've only recently learned of some pretty cool blogging tools, and as always I couldn't wait to post about them here on my blog. There are several groups on Facebook that offer so many neato motivational tools.

One of the simplest ways in my opinion to build your readership is to, read other blogs and show lots of love! If you run a Vlog, mention other bloggers on your blog. If you run a blog like this one, give shout outs to other blogs, link to them and comment on their stuff.

That's a great start, then, choose say 10 blogs that are on the same topic as your blog. Bookmark them in a folder, and then subscribe to them. Visit their blogs, leave comments, like their Facebook pages, and just be active, on those pages. This is a great way to get their attention and a great way to become a solid part of the Facebook Community.

There are also the Facebook Groups I mentioned above that offer some really neato resources!

 




Link Parties 

A link party is where a group of bloggers all decide to blog, Vlog on the same topic and then link to each others articles, that way when someone comes a long and reads one article, they're treated to a group of articles on the same topic. It's also not a bad way to make sure your articles have a ton of relevant links pointing to them!

Share for Share - Comment for Comment - Like for Like 

These exchanges are done in many fashions. Some groups let someone just pop in and post their page, YouTube Site, Facebook page, blog post, etc, and ask for likes/shares/comments, the person then promises to return in kind. In other groups, thins are a bit more organized, and you either reciprocate with the person above and below you, or everyone in a specific group, etc.

There are just a ton of these groups available on Facebook and they're fantastic for getting comments on your pages, getting faithful followers and building blogging relationships.

I just, today, started one of these groups, I started it because I want to be a part of a SUPER active group, with daily activities. I wasn't able to find one, so I'm creating one. You can find it HERE.

Helpful Blogging Groups

 




Vacation Shopping

So I'm getting ready to debut as a travel agent, and more importantly to go on a VACATION and I'm doing some window shopping! So just to be clear, this is me making a wishlist for my upcoming vacation, and taking advantage of some clearance sales, but I haven't worn these things yet.

#FatGirlsCanTravel #fatgirlstraveltoo

I've always always hid my belly. I have a super cute swim skirt and shirt that does just that in fact. But, it's time to stop all that hiding. I'm not ashamed of my belly. It's not ugly to me. I've carried 5 babies within it in fact, it's damn beautiful. But you're supposed to hide fat right? I've been taught that from day one. It's time to start unteaching. It's time to let my children know that the belly that carried them is downright glorious, and it's time it gets some sunshine! So I'm looking for a couple FANTASTIC plus sized bikini's! I really like this one, for lounging at least. Have suggestions? Please comment below!

This one actually doesn't come in my size. It says 4x, but the 4x is hardly a 4x, just sayin'. But it's gorgeous isn't it! I absolutely love it, so I decided to share it with you all anyway, because I know some of you are just absolutely going to have to have it! 😀 

Getting Ready to Travel – Because Fat Girls Can Too!

I’m planning to go on a fantastic vacation! In fact, I’m not stopping there. I’m planning to plan adventure after adventure. I’m literally going to travel my ass off. Hopefully you can be a part of hat with me as well.

See I never knew I could go on a Cruise, or an airplane. I heard horror stories from my mom about fat girls that didn’t book to seats. I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that if it isn’t first class, I’m not going!

Here’s a bit of irony for you. I went to the International Air and Hospitality Academy to learn to book travel. Well honestly, not just how to book it, but how to manage in the travel industries. I never did it though, because frankly, I never thought I could travel. So what was the point? I always figured when I lost the weight, I’d finally start living.

Honey let me tell you I’m totally done waiting.

On September 5th I’m announcing the location of my first #Fatgirlstraveltoo vacation! I’m opening up shop as a travel agent, for fat girls, and skinny girls too, hell I’ll even book travel for guys, but the point is, I’m doin’ the damn thing, and I’ll help you do it too!

For most excursions, you’ll need to make a payment of $25 to $50 per person, and then you’ll be able to make payments on your trip .

In the meantime I’ve been looking at some other big girl travel blogs, about sunscreen and plus-sized travel fashion.
I still remember the very moment that I learned that I could … do things. I weighed 410 lbs at the time, and I was very careful not to injure myself. Hell I could barely make it across the house without losing my asthmatic breath anyway.

Do things, imagine this, a big girl Zip-lining!!! That’s kind of a big one for me, given that my cousin had like 8 surgeries after a zip line’s break didn’t take. Anyway, I’d never watched the Biggest Loser before. Actually I was dead-set against that show. I’d seen a clip of it at someone’s house sometime ago and I thought, what the hell kind of show could just openly humiliate people like that? Make them walk up in front of America and stand on that scale… One day I realized they weren’t humiliated. They were so proud to be where they were. I watched, and I saw men that were bigger than me, weighed more than me, doing things!

They used the elliptical at the gym, they ran, they did stuff! I knew then I wanted to do stuff too! Heck, I’ve even applied to be on the show a time or two, and a scale doesn’t embarrass me anymore either! In fact, I’m here to teach my son that I’m not only big, I’m freakin gorgeous! #fatgirlscantoo #fatgirlsaregorgeous!

Travelling Back in Time – Camping on Mt. Hood

The Mount Hood National Forest holds many of my fondest memories. A youthfull kiss on top of a gravel pile as a teenager, my daughters first camping trip.. Years full of memories. My favorite trip up there though was with my kids. Watching my son and nephew ‘pee the fire out’, and my girls raft in the crystal clear waters of the Clackamas River. Just hanging out being singing campfire songs until my babies went to sleep.

I have had some pretty funny and eventful trips up there though. Once, my sister and I left the bottom part of the tent unzipped, and it filled with spiders. We were so tired, but piece by piece we emptied that tent and got rid of all of those scary spiders. Until finally, we saw the biggest spider we had ever seen. We screamed, I flailed. My arms flew all over the place. It had fallen from a blanket onto my chest. It must have been a damn site. Me just screaming, and backing up, and waving my arms in circles. It worked though. That spider, that we later learned was a Scorpion jumped right off of my chest, and… ran promptly back into our tent. …

That trip was also our most eventful ever journey! We’d just gotten back to the campground after being lost, with three kids at Bagby Hot Springs. Our flashlights all died, I had my 2 year old on my shoulders, my sister and I were each carrying a 3 or 4 year old, and we were bone tired!!! Finally, someone made some noise in the distance, we called out to them and they lead us back to the road.

4x Plus Sized Clothing

If you're my size, and especially if you're in my age group and like me you can't sew a stitch you'll be able to relate to my 'style' which has always been 'it pretty much fits'. I buy whatever fits and isn't absolutely old lady looking. I don't really know what my sense of style is, I have never really found choices. Until the Internet. Now, I can buy things I like, not everything I like, but I can find some things, and build my own style.

Check out what I bought this month!

Pink Queen Women's Plus Size V Neck Multicolor Striped Casual Maxi Dress in Green

Many people on Amazon say that this dress is sized small, so be aware of that. I don't think it's small, I think it's super form fitting. It's made of a stretchy, clingy material and honey it will show your curves! Now I have some big big arms and this dress strangled them! I cut the seam on the underside of the arm to get some room for my arm, but that really wasn't enough, I'll probably cut the whole band off of it and see if that makes it more comfortable because I absolutely love it! 

Barbra's 6 Pack of Women's Regular & Plus Size Lace Boyshort Panties

I just love these lace booty shorts! The only problem is .. they don't love me! I'm about a size 30 in pants. I don't really know my panty size, but 4x in these panties isn't it! There's a bright side though... it was super duper easy to process the refund request via Amazon. All I have to do is print a shipping label and send them on their way and the refund will pop right into my Amazon account. YAY! 

If you're smaller than me, these might be a good choice. I should actually measure my body so I know what in the heck to order :D.  Like 'em? You can check them out here on Amazon




Veroge Womens Plus Size Empire Waist Chevron Zigzag Floor Length Maxi Dress

I love, love, OMG Love this dress! It's bright, bold, and I look great in it! I got the 4x in blue and it's form fitting around the bust, so I have a little shape, and then billowy everywhere else. It does drag the ground a bit even in my sketcher sandals. Love the dress? It's also available on Amazon. I feel safe shopping on Amazon, plus I get free shipping with Amazon Prime, so I buy a lot off of that site. 😀

If you're not familiar with Amazon Prime, and are a new Prime customer, Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial

Future Goals I guess. ACEVOG Vintage 1950's Floral Spring Garden Party Picnic Dress Party Cocktail Dress

This was by far and large one of my favorite finds this month, but ... it didn't fit! It was a great deal, and it's a gorgeous dress, but ... it came from China, and the sizes don't quite match up to American standards... I ordered the 4x, and got what I'd say is about a 1x.

I put in a return request on Amazon and it was processed and approved IMMEDIATELY! The company also emailed and asked if we could just split the difference. They'd give me back half the cost of the dress, and I could then keep the dress and gift it someone. What an awesome deal! A dress for my daughter, or sister, or someone, and I get $8 free. No brainer there. I agreed and the money was back in my account within a day. So, the dress is a no-go for me, but the customer service was 5-star.

MayriDress Maxi Dress Plus Size Clothing Black Ball Gala Party Sundress Designer

This is another really great dress. I always get a slew of compliments when I wear it! It also drags the ground, and i'm 5'8.5" so if you're my height or less, expect to wear heels with it. It's super flowy and pretty, comes with a built in slip. Be sure and look at the bodice closely on Amazon so you know what that looks like.I was a bit surprised, but still love it! Looking for comfy heels to wear with this? As mentioned above, Sketcher has some great choices this year.