Financial Fast Day 3 of 21: Not Being Wasteful

As I was progressing throughout the fast, I was cutting back go grocery shopping. I needed to find ways to using or preserve my fresh fruits and vegetables. I found great methods that were easy and cheap. I also wanted to find new recipes for my food.

I did some research online and found a few websites wherein I could list the food items to make and meal. The sites would give me a recipe or a few. I mean I would have it making meals from some of my mismatched food items. It weirded me out at first but then the recipes seemed really tasty. The websites I liked the best include:,, and

I found a few methods to maintain or preserve my fruits and vegetables. I froze grapes and ate them frozen. A nice cool treat to have in the summer heat. I also froze ripe bananas to make into ice cream. A “diamond” Pinterest recipe I found. I chopped onions and peppers, placed them into freezer bags then froze them. They are best if used in baked dishes because they are soggy if thawed. This is a lesson learned.

I would wash my berries in apple cider vinegar. I bought apples because they last a very long time compared to other fruits. I made apple sage chicken sausages for a breakfast protein. I then made a dessert with brown sugar, apples and sweet potatoes. These are not typical food combinations for me but I truly enjoyed them.

I learned to infuse my water with fruit. I started adding berries, oranges and lemons. I then tried cucumber which I have never done before. I had to be a bit adventurous right? Besides it was either try this or the cucumbers were going to spoil.

I wasn’t as successful with my herbs. I found ways to maintain them like chop them up and place them in ice trays with olive oil. That didn’t seem too appetizing to me for some of the recipes I use my herbs.

I found great options for cauliflower. I now make my own cauliflower rice. It makes a great fried rice meal. I even have a mashed cauliflower with zucchini and cheese dish I enjoy. The cauliflower poppers are next on my list of foods to make at home.

Let’s talk about my experience with zucchini. I didn’t find a way to remain fresh longer so I tried making zucchini bread. I have tried several recipes and I have yet to bake a loaf I enjoyed. So I found a stuffed zucchini recipe. These come out very well and I truly enjoy eating them.

I consider this a WIN today. I learned how to make my fresh fruits and veggies last longer. For many of the items that I didn’t find a preservation hack, I found recipes to utilize them. So I pat myself on the back because I had a problem and looked for solutions.

Financial Fast Day 2 of 21: Did I fail to LAUNCH?

Uhm…well I didn’t fail to plan but did I fail to LAUNCH?  Better yet, how did my plan to SUCCEED go? Did I fail on my second day of the financial fast? These are all very valid questions for me to address. Many times we have what seem like SOLID PLANS with focus and details, yet nothing happens.

Well on day 2 of the financial fast I was still holding STRONG. Well as strongly as you can for the second day of the fast. I was packing a cooler full of food for work. I had a quiche for breakfast, chicken salad for lunch and salmon for dinner with various fruits, veggies and potatoes as snacks and sides. I drank mostly water throughout the day.

For evening entertainment, I had a variety of activities. I did Pilates for an hour. I called family and friends for a few hours to catch up. I posted on Facebook and Twitter with various articles and quotes. I read articles and some pages of my e-book. I was CHANGING! I didn’t find the need to go to the store to fill avoid from being bored.

Not only had I LAUNCHED, I was beginning to GROW. Was it comfortable making the changes? Uhm…no! But this only meant what I suspected; I was not completely in control of the money I was spending. While I never ran a credit card up to its limit or spent my rent money on a 55” flat screen, it meant I was not being the best steward of my money. I had room for improvement and the next 19 days would definitely show me where this improvement would be.

I was easily stacking “coins” from not dining out. I was saving money by not running into Target for this or that. I wasn’t going to the drive-thru when I had cupboards and refrigerator packed with nutritious food. I found myself enjoying more of my own cooking and feeling great about it. I didn’t lose time from cooking my meals because I would have one day of meal preparation. This consisted of me making 5-6 meals for the week along with any sides. I was happy to see leftovers on long days of work. In all, I was treating myself better by controlling my food, money and body. LAUNCH SUCCESSFUL…now let’s see me orbit.

Financial Fast Day 1 of 21: How did I prepare for the fast?

Once I read the guidelines for the financial fast, I knew I need to preplan. I couldn’t be sporadic about my meals or go into emotional spending. I couldn’t do emotional eating either. So I actually laid out a plan to be successful during the fast.

I reviewed my schedule for any special events, business trips or holidays.  I would have to take. There was only one business trip I would have to book using my corporate credit card during the fast.  I was determined it will be the ONLY instance a credit card would be used.

Special Events – One of my nieces had a birthday party during the financial fast. Luckily for me, I had purchased a comforter on clearance a couple of months prior. Originally, this was going to be a Christmas gift but oh well. I was hoping my niece wouldn’t ask for me to take her to Longhorn a birthday dinner. She didn’t so DISASTER averted.

Meals – I developed a meal plan. First I took inventory of the food I already had at home. I then made a simple and easy to follow meal plan:

Entrée Side/Snack
Salmon Shrimp Stir Fry Kale, Bananas Celery, Tomatoes
Meatloaf Chicken Soup Blueberry Tart Blueberries
Tuna Muffins Chili Cauliflower Rice Carrots, Pineapple
Stuffed Zucchini Chicken & Apple Sausage Zucchini Bread Cauliflower, Spinach
Chicken Salad Tacos Cheesy Zucchini Rice Sweet Potatoes
Hard boiled Eggs Omelet Muffin Coconut Cupcake Garlic, White Potatoes
Hamburgers Chicken Fajita Soup One Ingredient Ice Cream Cheese, Cucumbers
Quiche w/ Grd Turkey Salisbury Steak Sunflower Seeds Oranges, Watermelon
Pork chops Sweet Potato Pancakes Grapes,  Brussel Sprouts Almonds, Walnuts

I utilized Pinterest to find new recipes with items I had on hand. Example is the one ingredient ice cream. It is just a frozen banana put into a food processor or blender until it reaches a smooth ice cream like texture. I added frozen fruit, flavored egg whites and whey protein powder to create different flavors.

Entertainment – the internet has great FREE entertainment and of course CBS has the Young and the Restless available online. I as have Hulu and Amazon Prime along with read books and the gym to occupy my time. I did some self-development activities and started building my own blog.

Boredom – I did have a couple of ideas of how to cure my boredom. My boredom activities included cleaning, organizing, blogging, looking for a mastermind group and driving around my new neighborhood.

Most of the planned activities worked for me during the financial fast.

Your Clarity leads to Cashflow

What Is A Financial Fast & Why I did it for 21 Days?

In my quest to be DEBT FREE, I was introduced to the Financial Fast. The one I was introduced to was based on Michelle Singletary’s book, “The 21 Day Financial Fast.” While it is a Christian based fast, you can do the fast with eliminating the Christian focus. But do the fast as you see fit for you and your faith. However, stay within the basic frame work I have identified later in the blog.

Why do a financial fast? I wanted to see where I could save MORE money that I had already identified in my budget. I knew I was staying in budget and that I could be saving MORE money. The financial fast limited my ability to spend money,  so that I could see the ABUNDANCE I had in my home and to use what I already had instead of spending more money.

During the 21-day Financial Fast, I was supposed to essentially go “Cold Turkey” on all nonessential purchases. I will let you know over the next 21 days how it went for me.

During the fast:

  • I could not use Credit Cards/Debit Cards. This is a “Cash Only Fast”. I was supposed to take out a certain amount of cash at the start. The rule of thumb is $200. However, this cash is to ONLY BE USED ON NECESSITIES.
  • No restaurant meals. No fast food meals. No purchasing breakfast or lunch at work. No stopping for coffee. I prepared all of our meals, including lunch. I found a huge portion of my savings in this very area.
  • No Mall Shopping, retail stores, online shopping. Window shopping is off-limits. When you window shop, you’re more likely to run out and make impulse purchases at the conclusion of the fast. This is discouraged. The goal is to try to institute a total lifestyle change.
  • No spending on entertainment. Don’t go to the movie, or do anything which will result in your spending money. Find things to do that are free of charge.
  • Bills are still permitted to be paid electronically online, however, this is an opportunity to use the budget provided to the group to determine which expenses could be cut out and saved.
  • Gift cards couldn’t be used to buy items that I don’t need.

Does this seem difficult? Any type of change is! For a better financial future, I was willing to do this fast for ONLY 21 days. I was happy and astounded by the findings. Follow me for the next 21 days as I discuss the challenges, failures and SUCCESSES of my 21 day Financial Fast.

Growth Comes when you step out of your comfort zone

The Voice in Your Head

Over the past year my mom closed her 30+ year old business. It was very difficult for her to do. She struggled to keep her business going and had placed much hard work and dedication into her business. Her journey into entrepreneurship piqued my interest in how, why and when did my mom start her business.

You see we live in a small rural town in South Carolina. There are not many chain businesses and those that are in town are franchised by locals. The good paying jobs have dwindled like other towns and cities in the US. So with a decline in jobs and my mom being in retirement age I wanted to know how did she get started? So I asked her and these are my mom’s responses with my take-a-ways:

  1. Why? God sent my mom a message and she responded to it. God told
    No perfect time to chase your dreams so start NOW
    No perfect time to chase your dreams so start NOW

    my mom to teach the children in the community. See my mom started teaching in the South Carolina public school system in 1969 but stopped around 1977 and started working at H&R Block. This is a huge difference in career paths right? She started her business AND worked there to have cash to run the business. Her office was 12 miles away from her business and my mom didn’t learn to drive until 1991 which is 10 years after she started her business. In rural towns, if you don’t know how to drive you will have “limited” opportunities. Take-A-Way #1: If there is a barrier, you find a way to overcome it.

  2. How? My grandmother gave my mom $1000 seed money, my uncles/aunts bought items and drove the items 90 miles one way. A young neighbor helped my mom for free in cleaning the building she housed her daycare. My mom bought the building she housed her daycare in directly from the owner without a loan from a bank. My dad’s cousin was a social worker and told my mom the licensing process. Take-A-Way #2: Your support can come from several places when you are an entrepreneur. Use your network as you will have more supporters than you may realize.
  3. When? The time was when God spoke to her. My mom worked 7 days a week, still had to keep house (my dad worked full time doing 12 hour shifts, drove 1.5 hours to work one-way and worked side jobs), worked tax season for extra income, raised 5 kids and ran her business. Was it easy? No but God gave her direction and there was no other options.Take-A-Way #3: When you have NO OTHER options then the time is now!
  4. Bonus: My mom had no experience or process to start or operate a business. Yet she did it anyway. Whatever fears or doubts she had didn’t matter because her vision and purpose were CLEAR. Nothing else mattered. Take-A-Way #4: The time is NOW. Don’t delay.

Take the time to ask questions to the leaders, business owners, educators, long time residents and legends in your area. I am sure there will be nuggets of information you can gather, share, learn from and grow.

Why I Love Working in Construction

Picture of construction crew & mgt after last steel piece is placed.
Picture of construction crew & mgt after last steel piece is placed.

So many people think I’m crazy for being a woman and a construction engineer. But actually, I think you are crazy for not even considering it as a career. I travel around the country to help build different energy projects. I wear a hard hat, bright as hell safety vest, steel-toed boots and safety glasses. I get to guide the future of ENERGY in the United States and it EXCITES me.

Here’s why. In construction it is NEVER boring. Construction is a rapid fire type industry and I get some much enjoyment from working under the pressure. I love the pace and everyday being different.  Something always fails go as planned. Material is delivered late, engineering drawing has an error, a contractor doesn’t understand a detail on an engineering drawing, on and on and on. It is a team environment from upper management to craft personnel. It supports the economy from around the country and sometimes the world.  Even with the complexity of construction projects, most  are successfully completed.

I get to use my innate analytical skills to address problems and determine how they impact various aspects of the project. When an issue has to be addressed, I must immediately decide which is more important to address – items on my “ABC” To Do List or the new issue. Will the new issue immediately impact the project schedule or not? Will this new issue impact the project budget and to what amount? Will the issue be of high importance to my client or not? Will this issue impact other contractors or not? It’s a brain teaser of sorts…I LOVE brain teasers.

I can discuss the issue with my team – project manager, construction manager, material manager, project controls lead and others. I can review the project schedule and budget to identify impacts. After some consideration, I make recommendations which are seriously considered and usually used to remedy the situation.  Did I tell you that I do this in a span of 10 minutes or less many times?

My project manager and previous program manager also let me lead processes and manage contractors. It feels great to have people ask you for help and direction. It feels even better to be able to address them appropriately. The best part is seeing dirt move and things begin to “grow” from it. Like a phoenix it will rise!

But like any job, it ain’t all sunny days and no rain. I’m away from my family often, steel-toed boots aren’t cute and wearing jeans five-days a week gets mundane for me. However, I get to fly home once a month to see my family which makes each trip home special. While my life isn’t perfect, it is the life that is perfect for me…at least for now.

Be the Genuine You

Your Dreams Need EnergySince I travel a lot, I change doctors, dentist, etc often. I was looking for a doctor and found a group that could fit my needs. Out of all the pictures of the doctors, there was only one WITHOUT his white coat and he had a genuine smile. That is who I selected. He had a great bedside manner, soft spoken and extremely approachable. People look for the genuine YOU to connect with, especially when doing business. Go and have FUN in all that you do in life because people desire to see who we really are. People will think of you what they may, no matter how you selective you maybe about the things you say or do (or NOT say or do). You will have wasted time and energy to present someone other than your genuine self and would have LOSS more than you had bargained for in the beginning.

Never sacrifice your TRUE self for another, a job/career, your self-worth or any material item. Instead being who you truly are will render more satisfaction in your daily life, living a passionate life when your true self shines from within to others.

How to be the genuine you?

  1. Wear the colors, patterns, etc. that make you SMILE from ear to ear!
  2. Write down your top 10 to do list and GO FOR IT!
  3. Smile, cry, grin, love as you desire and need to for nothing is forever.
  4. Plan for TOMORROW but enjoy today with a good glass of wine, your favorite book in a foreign country, beach or mountain top.
  5. YELL, SCREAM, HOOT, HOLLER for your favorite sports team be it in a bar, stadium or living room.
  6. Don’t just dream but LIVE your dreams.
  7. Don’t save those shoes, dresses, jewelry, bottle of champagne for that special moment. That moment is HERE and NOW!

Pop the cork to being the GENUINE you!