How to Pack for a 6 Week, 5 Country Adventure with Kids

There are two forms of travel:  “First Class”, or “With Children”. Watching harried parents placate exhausted kids while they wait at the baggage carousel after an 11 hour flight will make you question ever travelling with offspring. There are ways to make traveling with kids easier though.  Whether I’m sending the kids to grandma’s house for the weekend, or packing up for a 6 week European summer vacation, each person is allotted 1 carry on roller and 1 backpack.  Nothing is checked in, ever. Checking in luggage is a hassle.  Not only do you have to wait in long bag-drop…

Coparenting through Separation: Ending Your Marriage in the Kids Best Interest

I just cleaned my ex-husband’s bathroom, stocked his fridge with the list he sent me, and wiped down his grimy kitchen counters. I have classical music playing in the livingroom and the kids are quietly doing their homework. In a few minutes, he will arrive home to a more orderly house, with dinner ingredients laid out and ready to be cooked.  I will kiss my kids goodbye and head out for dinner with a friend. Why am I going out of my way to clean his house and buy his groceries?  After all of the nastiness of separation, and 5…

Buy, Rehab, Vacation Rent: A Dallas Case Study

The last picture has been hung, lamp placed just so, and beds all neatly made with white linens.  Its time for the Airbnb guests to arrive at my newly rehabbed Dallas triplex.  I wanted to share the journey by the numbers- this is a long post with a lot of math thrown at you, but it will be interesting for investors looking to get into their first small multifamily rehab project. For the most part, I am happy with the way the remodel came out, especially given my constraints of budget and time.  However, I made a few mistakes which I…

Divorce Labor

When I walked into my neighborhood cafe, “Mamma Says” by the Shirelle’s was playing- so appropriate for what I needed to hear right then. Going through a divorce is a process, much like labor.  And, like labor, the postpartum (or, postnuptial?) period has its rough patches. Our divorce labor was hardest in the transition phase, right before my husband moved out.  Sweat, tears, and high emotions heralded the soon arrival of our new lives. As soon as his last box was on the moving truck, everyone felt a great sense of relief, much like a nauseous person feels when they…

Family Style Hell

Our most recent family adventure took us to Kings Canyon National Park for the girls February break (somewhat obnoxiously dubbed “Ski Week” by wealthy Silicon Valley parents with ski cabins). The lodge I chose caters to families, and I was the only single mom there for the 4 days.  It was great for people watching, as all meals are served Family Style at communal tables, and there is really just one central space where everyone gathers multiple times a day. In the 4 days I was there, I witnessed constant bickering, passive aggressive contempt, disrespect, and outright anger between couples….

Greece 2018

Here we are at the end of Q1 2017, and you know what that means?  Its time to start thinking about summer 2018 travel.  That’s right- I start brainstorming my trips about 15 months ahead of time.  I need to start gathering ideas, because come September 2017, I will start booking flights for June 2018 travel.  I like to spread out my travel research over several months- this gives me plenty of time to save up articles, blog posts, and recommendations from friends for where I want to go.  Sometimes, the research and planning phase is the most enjoyable!  There…

Marriages, Like Start-Ups, Should Fail Fast

Most marriage books tell you to keep trying, work harder, hang in there, ride out the tough spots.  I’m here to tell you that is bullshit.  If you marriage is in trouble, fail fast. My husband and I are in the process of separating.  As emotionally exhausting as this process has been, we have both committed to working together.  We are coparenting, more or less on the same page, with the help of our mediator. By “Failing Fast” we got out of our toxic relationship in the nick of time.  What do I mean by this?  We ended things while…

How to Travel in Europe on a Budget, with Kids!

Europe is definitely not most people’s idea of a wallet friendly destination.  A sunny beach in Mexico would be better, or anywhere in South America? Sure!  But I wanted to go to Europe this summer, so I made it happen, on my Flight, Accommodation, and Transportation (FAT) budget of $1,200 per week for myself and two daughters.  I’ve just finalized my last booking for our 5 week trip through England, Spain, France, Norway and Iceland, and wanted to share how I made it happen! Book one-way flights using credit card miles.  Pay only taxes and fees. Book rental car early,…

Setting your Travel Budget

I love Google spreadsheets for keeping my travel spending organized.  I keep a running tally of each trip, so I know how much its costing me.  My spreadsheets include Flights, Accommodations, and Transportation (FAT).   I don’t include food or museum/entertainment in my FAT budget.  Why?  Because even when we are home we have to eat, and we end up spending about the same on groceries as when we are traveling.  We may eat out a few more times than at home, but on the other hand, I’m not paying for camp lunch fees, nor am I going out drinking with…

Traveling on a Budget!

Budget is a terrible word.  It conjures up images of belt tightening, of self-limiting, of deprival.  But that’s not how I use it.  When I say budget, I mean thinking about how I like to travel, and figuring out how much that costs.  Then I figure out how long I can afford to travel like that.  That’s my budget! I am a reformed vagabond backpacker who has distant memories of living in Spain as a 17 year old, wandering around Morocco and sleeping on various friends couches.  That’s not how I like to habitate on the road at this juncture…