Why You Won’t go on Vacation & Why You Probably Should

You could be in Amsterdam in eight hours. In Cape Town in sixteen. You could be scaling the Andes Mountains in Patagonia right now –while  wearing your favorite Patagonia coat. So why are you still sitting on your couch? Why haven’t you left your home state in twenty years? And why aren’t you living the crazy life you’ve always dreamed of? It’s a proven fact that people are happier when they have a vacation planned. It’s often said that a vacation gives you something to look forward to. This alone should be enough to convince you to start saving for a trip. However, it’s not always that easy, is it? If you are anything like me, practicality often gets in the way of adventure. Three of the biggest reasons people don’t take vacations is because of money, time, and flat out fear.

Addressing the “I don’t have enough money” mindset:

Have you ever put new tires before a Las Vegas getaway with friends? Or maybe a new lawn mower got in the way of that perfect getaway to Chicago. Whatever it is that stops you from saving for a vacation, it doesn’t have to take away from the exciting adventure that could await. Sometimes all it takes is a simple shift in mindset to make the unthinkable happen.

When Dan and I were first married we made very little money. I worked part-time while finishing school as Dan started his first year teaching. Our apartment was a one bedroom located in the bad part of Minneapolis. Despite that, we decided that traveling would be a priority for us. But how did we do it? We traded some things for others. So, I want to propose a question. What are the things in your life that you don’t actually need?  Consider dropping your cable to put that money aside for a trip. Do you need the newspaper when many are available to read online? Transportation is necessary, but does it have to be a 2016 model? Just start thinking about it. I could bet that most people reading this article could at least save $10 a month in a vacation fund. It’s a start!

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Addressing the “I’m too busy” mindset:

Have you ever been so busy that the thought of adding one more thing to your schedule makes you feel like you’ll break? I have, and at this point a vacation isn’t just a want, it’s a need. You can only run on low batteries for so long before they run out. If the thought of laying on the white sand beaches of Aruba is cathartic, imagine how healing it would be to actually be there. Between the two of us, Dan and I work over 130 hours a week. Add a social life to that, errands, cleaning house… etc… we aren’t left with much extra time. Our particular schedule may look different than yours, but I know that we aren’t the only ones who have only a precious few hours to spend leisurely. That’s why you need to recharge your batteries. Our lives are so busy, that if we don’t slow down from time to time, we really could break. If you have enough PTO, use some. If your parents said they would watch your kids, don’t feel guilty, take advantage of the opportunity. If you think you’ve got too much going on at work, take care of the things that need attention right away, and leave the rest for later.

 

 

Addressing the “I’m too scared” mindset:

When you are at the end of your life looking back at all you’ve done, won’t you want to reflect on all of the seized opportunities, and revel in the fact that you took control of life? In the short life I’ve already lived, I’ve learned that some of the scariest experiences in life are the best experiences. When we were in the Cayman Islands a few years back, Dan made me hold a stingray while on a snorkeling adventure. I was terrified while I watched others pick them up, but I was also jealous of the life experience they were having. He saw the wistful look in my eye and encouraged me to hold one even though I was scared. I’m thankful for the push he gave me. That will forever be one of my favorite experiences in life. What are the things you have wanted to do, but you let fear stand in the way?

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Can you see the man swimming after the stingray :D!?

 

 

If you are still struggling to justify a vacation, I will give you a few more reasons to just bite the bullet and plan the trip:

  1. It’s a chance to invest in yourself.
  2. It gives you the break you need to recharge your batteries for life.
  3. If you’re married or dating, it’s a chance to invest in your relationship.
  4. It helps you expand your interests.
  5. It opens your world view.
  6. It’s a chance to invest in your family.
  7. It’s a chance to build new relationships.
  8. It can be a spiritual experience.
  9. Because accumulating experiences is better than collecting stuff
  10. It’s a chance to give back (missions or volunteer trips)

 

 

 

  • PS, I want to give a quick shout out to my husband Dan for doing an amazing edit on this post!

 

 

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Guest Blog: What can you do to sell your home this Spring?

Winter is gone and spring has begun!

Spring starts the cycle of seasons, prompting our desires for something fresh and new. Sometimes  that new  thing can be a hair style or wardrobe, but other times it can be something bigger, like selling your home and starting over somewhere new.

You always hear that it’s difficult to sell your home in the winter — No kidding, who want’s to move in 3 feet of snow? — but selling in the spring brings steep competition. I am seeing for sale signs pop up left and right all around my community. Luckily for you, I have an expert available with some tips on how to get your home to stand out from the pack. I am not a home owner myself yet, although I do have an unhealthy obsession with real estate. Seriously, ask me how many homes are for sale in my community and I can not only rattle it off, but I will tell you the price, how much the property taxes are, and what street each house is on. I LOVE architecture and I love houses. When I go for walks each evening with my husband, we pick out our favorite details on the homes we pass, and store them in our memories for when we own one. Don’t feel bad for me though. I may not own a house yet, but I live in my dream historic apartment, which makes me as happy as a clam.

Well, enough of my yammering — Let’s let the expert do his job.

Tips from Spencer Hutton, Realtor with CommonWealth Real Estate Group and TheMLSonline.com, on how to sell your home this Spring!

SPENCER HUTTON | REALTOR®, Lead Agent CommonWealth Real Estate Group Direct: 612-868-4738 shutton@themlsonline.com

Selling in the spring time can be a double edged sword in Minnesota. Buyer’s have been pent up all winter and are excited to get out and look at new inventory of homes, which is a huge win for sellers! However, the curb appeal on our homes can take a huge hit over our harsh winters! So what are the best steps to take to set yourself apart from the competition?

 
1)  Pick Up Trash – You’d be amazed at how much trash gets buried under the snow and pushed into your yard/curbs over the winter months by the plows. Take some extra time to walk around your yard, and even the curbs of your street to pick up leaves, debris and trash. Even if it is out on the streets in the front of the house, it can make your home look shabby. But, if you have taken the time to do this extra step and your neighbors (or competition) have not, your house will stand out!
 
2)  Power Wash/Paint Exterior – Often times, a lot of dirt and grime builds up on the exterior of a home during the winter months. Have someone come power wash the siding or stucco of your home (I recommend a professional to ensure the siding isn’t damaged). Also, if your home needs a fresh paint job, don’t hesitate to invest in this easy way to add instant curb appeal, which is critical area to spruce up before listing your home on the market. You only get one chance at a first impression!
 
3)  New Mulch and Flowers – Spending a little bit of money on mulch and fresh spring flowers will go a long way. In the spring, the streets and lawns of Minnesota can blend into a drab brown color. Set yourself apart by getting fresh natural colored mulch and planting some hardy spring flowers. You can plant the following flowers/shrubs as soon as the ground thaws and they will bloom right around Mother’s Day in May:
  • Lilacs
  • Magnolias
  • Pansies

4)  Replace the Front Door – This is where potential buyers will walk into your home for the first time. It is also where the realtor may fumble with the lockbox for a few moments and the buyers will be glancing at your exterior landscaping, paint job and front door. A beat up and shabby front door will plant in the buyers minds that the rest of the home was not well cared for. On the flip side, a new and stylish front door can sell a home (It’s happened!). Again, you only get one chance at a first impression. Make it count!
 
 
5)  Professional Photography – Make sure your real estate agent is using a professional photographer for your listing. I have a photographer I use on all of my listings. 91% of people start their home shopping journey online (that number continues to rise) and your photos will make or break your listing. You want all of your hard work to jump off the screen for your buyers and a professional photographer with have the right skills and equipment to capture your house at its best. It’s an investment that will pay itself back for you and your real estate agent!
To sum it all up, YOU ONLY GET ONE CHANCE AT A FIRST IMPRESSION (Did I say that yet?) and in today’s quick click culture, you have to capture your home at its best just to get buyers to the front of your home. When they get there you don’t want to leave them feeling disappointed. A little work will go a long way!
 For more advice or to get started on the home buying or selling process, contact me and my team, CommonWealth Real Estate Group of TheMLSonline.com

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How Minnesotans Handle the Spring

It’s all relative. How we handle different experiences has to do with what we’ve already done. Sometimes you know how to navigate a situation like the back of your hand, and others leave you wondering how it will turn out. One thing I know for sure is that as Minnesotans we understand the cold. But something happens year after year leaving us unsure of what to do and how to act. It is spring! Spring isn’t a definitive time in Minnesota and it throws us all out of whack. Yes, all of us. How can I know that we ALL go through this strange and confusing range of emotions in the spring?  Social media. You can learn a lot about human nature from it ;)! So how confused are we? Scroll down to read about our varying actions and emotions regarding this confusing season.

1. We wear inappropriate clothing

One day it’s 50 degrees, so we throw on our Daisy Dukes and a pair of flip flops. Let’s be real here, in warmer climates 50 degrees is not shorts weather. The next day we assume it will be just the same and we look like a fool wearing those same shorts and flip flops in 20 degree weather. You reason with yourself, “but it looked sunny when I peaked out my window this morning!” Don’t worry Minnesotans, it’s not your fault, it’s the erratic weather’s. We’ve all been there and take pity on you.

2. We measure our snow. 

It starts to warm up just a bit and all the snow slowly goes away, but leave it to spring to pile it on us again. In the dead of winter the steady dumping of that white stuff aint no thang. It feels like an injustice in the spring though. To cope with it, we pull our rulers out and measure, post it on social media, and voice our opinions about the unwanted snowfall. It shouldn’t surprise us that it happened, because it happens every year, but this measuring thing is just one of the many ways we can feel like we have control about what’s going on.

3. We get nostalgic

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Winter Wonderland – You have to admit that it’s beautiful

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas comes back onto the playlist, and in between the rants and pictures of the snowfall totals, we see the overly romantic folks talking about the fluffy snow that’s hung lightly on the branches. When they wake up the next morning and realize the snow is still there, they pull out their rulers and post photos of that instead.

4. The Weather Nazi’s terrorize us into putting the flannel sheets on again

AKA the morning news anchors. They get us excited about our warm days and then use phrases like “it won’t stay long” or “beware of plummeting temperatures.” In reality it only goes back down to 20-40 degrees, but they have you so nervous about the plummet that you pull out the flannel sheets again. 35 degree temperatures and a  1″-3″ snowfall in the dead of winter would feel amazing, but they’ve got to build it up come spring time. Why not add on a winter weather advisory for the drama of it all?

5. We take spring break trips to make it through winter forgetting that Minnesota starts to warm up at the same time.

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We want to rub it in the faces of our friends that we are basking in the sun. We leave for our trips to Florida and then see pictures of people back home in Minnesota out on walks proclaiming the glory of 60 degrees. In reality, we probably booked that warm weather trip in January when we thought we couldn’t survive the cold temps a day longer. At that point we fail to realize that Minnesota DOES get some warm days by the time spring break hits. It may be warmer where you are, Spring Breakers, but not THAT much warmer. You only get small bragging rights.

6. Minnesotans who have moved away to warmer climates mock us.

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The abuse of winter haunts us years after we have moved away. If you have lived in Minnesota, you will never forget how cold it gets (no matter how many times your therapist tells you that you must). When you make the move, and experience 75 degrees and sunny in March, the sunshine feels like a victors prize that you can’t help but gloat about. You all know you would do the exact same thing if you moved away, so don’t condemn them too much ;).

7. We post TBT pictures to remind us of warmer times.

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We are all guilty of it… We open the shades the morning after a 60 degree day and see the snow falling again. We throw ourselves into a state of depression, snuggle under our electric blankets, and post TBT pictures of our vacations to remind ourselves that it won’t last forever. It can’t, right? RIGHT?

8. Ultimately we get over it, forget that time of year that we were so confused, and then do it all over again the next spring.

Good luck Minnesotans.

Introduction

Since I decided to start this blog on a whim today, I thought an introduction would be necessary.

My name is Brianna, and I’m a Minnesotan.

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I enjoy eating good food, being around great people, loving God, spending time with my family, and seeking out adventure in life. I have been married to my husband Dan for almost 4 years. He’s a stud of a man, that one. He is a sports fan and enjoys playing hockey and golf, is a teacher, musician, and all around good person. I will leave it at that because he is a much more private person than I, and will be mortified to read he is in my first blog post! Don’t worry honey, this is just one of the many perks (or quirks…. depending on how you look at it) that comes with being married to me!

“Why would you start a blog about Minnesota?”

Many of you are probably asking this exact question. Or possibly it’s “what qualifies you to do so?”, or even, “do you think you are such a great writer that we will all want to read what you have to say?”. I wish I were that cool, but frankly, no. This idea stemmed from my growing love of good food and good entertainment.

My husband and I were driving home one night after a fun night out with friends and I looked at him and said, “wouldn’t it be amazing to be a food critic, or a blogger? What if you could write about what you loved and people actually cared? Maybe you could even get PAID someday to do the things that you love doing?” Then I stared off into space and imagined what that world could look like. I do not think that I will get paid for doing this, but I do know that I will find great pleasure in writing about the things I love, and inviting you to explore those things with me.

“So what will this blog be about? And how often will it be posted?”

So glad you asked….

If any of you have read the amazing book, Strengths Finder, by Tom Rath; I am an INCLUDER by nature. I can’t help but pull all of you into the things I love. By being Minnesotan, and appealing to Minnesotan readers, I think you will also love what I love. So if I had to give you a list, here it is:

What to do

Where to eat

Businesses worth mentioning

Where to shop

The great outdoors

The people I love

Causes worth caring about

How to do life in Minnesota

To answer my second question. I am a wife, music director at a church, recruiter and internship coordinator for a group home (shout out to ACR Homes, woo!), and I help coordinate a local level Miss America pageant. This blog will be purely for the fun of it, so I would expect to see a post once a month!

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Stay tuned for my first OFFICIAL blog about getting outdoors in the dead of winter! It will be a fun one!