My First $75 Speaking Gig

$75 check for my first paid speaking gig!

$75 check for my first paid speaking gig!

Last week I had my first $75 speaking gig. I shared an introduction to Simplicity Parenting with a fantastic group of parents from Tillamook Cooperative Preschool. Receiving a check written out to Darcy’s Utopia felt like a big deal, regardless of the amount. With all my training and prep, I feel like I’ve more than earned it.

I’ve never told anyone, but from an early age I felt a premonition that someday I would become a professional public speaker. As a freshman I entered a speech contest, and I think that year I placed third sharing why I thought that organic labeling should become mainstream. I ended doing better in debate than solo, but both obviously require speaking. In college, I was passionate about climate change and joined a speaker’s bureau where I gave several talks on college campuses. I found that the more that I shared my personal story, the better my talks would go, and even though I could explain the science of global warming, it was my passion for stopping it that shone through and compelled others to care.

Yet, in my first job out of college I had a dreadful experience of stuttering my way through a press conference with complete cotton mouth. I was mortified, and it’s taken me years to truly get over that deer-in-the-headlights feeling.

My presentation for Tillamook Preschool went well, and it felt like suuuuchh a long time a-coming. The parents were receptive and engaged, and several gave me genuine thank yous following my talk. With just an hour, I barely managed to skim the surface of SP, but I’m hopeful that I planted some seeds for a few families.

Speaking of seeds, that’s been my business mantra as I’ve taken actions holding hope that my seeds would someday sprout. Thanks how change works, it takes action and patience. My invitation to speak first came from an outreach email that I sent the school last spring, which also resulted in my first coaching client.

With my first true speaking gig under my belt, I’m ready to continue to hone my skills. I’ll give Toastmasters a try, and see where things go…just the idea of getting paid to speak makes me smile. Getting paid for your passion is what the new economy should be about.

Darcy

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My Financial Vent Tunnel

I haven’t been blogging lately, and I know that it’s in part because I’ve been frustrated by our finances. There are a combination of factors, none of which ease the stress. I naturally wish that everything was ideal, and the disconnect between my desires and reality is getting under my skin. I realize that it’s time start using this blog to vent as well as to dream.

One of the clever tools I use in my Mama Bliss Coaching is to create a “Vent Tunnel” where you create a safe space to simply rant about whatever is bothering you. So, here it goes:

  1. After writing a lovely little article about being a “Budget Believer” for Metro Parent, I haven’t managed to update my own budget. I had the best of intentions when I wrote the article to rebuild our budget. Initially I waited because I knew that our August vacation budget didn’t reflect our real budget, but then September flew by and now October is half over. I’m feeling a tiny bit better after I just spent the last hour taking the first stab at it. But I’ve been feeling like a major fraud though, and I know it’s going to take diligence to heed my own sage advice…
  2. We’ve spent too much money on our 1904 Victorian. When I left my City paycheck, we agreed that we couldn’t afford to take on major home improvements. But the winter storms left of with a small leak in our roof, and it was old enough that a patch job didn’t feel sufficient. Then, despite us trying multiple different fixes over the years, our basement has continued to leak with each major rain storm. It’s made it impossible for us to make it into a livable family space. So, we committed once again to spend more money to at least make it dry. There’s more to this story, but I think I need a whole post to vent on it…
  3. In the process of Miel searching for her new Portland home, I ended up touring lots of beautiful places in nearby Irvington. Our kids transferred into Irvington School, but we have to walk them “across the tracks” of MLK to get there (the italics are for Kevin, who loves to use this phrase, but it makes me cringe). We’ve been truly happy in our home for the past six years, and there are still so many things that I love about our place. Yet, the location has felt awkward ever since the kids started in school. Aside from a long walk, it’s the fact that there’s only one set of boys for them to have impromptu play dates with. Makenna, and soon Teagan, have no one within a reasonably nearby radius to play with. I know that it sounds ludicrous and probably very privileged to want to move homes for social reasons, but Kevin and I would love to have more community friends too. There are other factors too, like that we could really use some more guest space, and I’ve had a goal of hosting exchange students when the kids are a bit older, but that can’t happen our current home. More of a story on this too…
  4. I need a part-time nanny. Teagan is very close to toddling around on her own. I spent a lot of time off during the summer, and I knew that my windows of available work time were getting shorter and shorter. Plus, with ramping up my coaching, I need to have truly uninterrupted appointment times available. I was planning to hire someone in September, but then with Miel moving out, we decided to share a nanny and are hopefully close to doing so. But there is also the obvious need to afford the nanny. Thankfully, we’re finally starting to earn from our investment in the beach cabins. Yet, I had been doing coaching alone, it would have continued to feel like a chicken/egg syndrome of needing the kid-free time in order to work, but needing the income to afford the care.
  5. We’re in serious need of a Money Honey talk, but I feel like since I’ve been “off work” our money conversations end up being all about how I spend too much money. Yes, I did go on a spending binge back in the spring, but I’ve kept my spending in check for the past six months. Yet, I feel like Kevin is constantly “accusing” me of spending on things that are within our budget, and worse than that is the feeling like I’m not contributing financially to our household and am therefore undeserving. I am sooooo ready to start making some real cash, and I know that my desire to earn is linked to my sense of self worth. I’m tired of feeling like I can’t fully live the life I want.

It feels great to get this off my chest, even though I still need to dig deeper and share more on many aspects. While I know that I’m opening myself up to criticism, I would rather share our full story than unpersonal finance tips.

What does your “Vent Tunnel” look like?

Darcy

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Portland Roasting

portlandroasting

It’s National Coffee Day, and here in Portland, coffee is taken seriously. In fact, not surprisingly Portland is ranked the 2nd best city for coffee snobs.

Our households buy our coffee through a school program with Portland Roasting Company that contributes $4 out of ever $10 purchase directly to the school. Now if you ask me, that is beats a bake sale any day!

Most of us drink coffee, so this way we can do so and support our local schools at the same time. If you live in Portland, or even if you don’t, drop us a note and we can connect you with the organizers of the program and hook you up with some awesome coffee for a great cause.

350 bakery

I also have to share about the newest and most fabulous 350 Bakery & Coffee Bar in Washington, DC. Conveniently right across the street from where we just moved from, 350 Bakery is a fabulous addition to the neighborhood. I typically stay away from pastries, but if you are going to have one, it might as well be delicious! Plus the staff cannot be beat on the friendliness factor. It isn’t surprising, since Andy, their head barista, was actually trained in Portland. Stop by and check them out!

Enjoy a cup!

Miel

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Southern Sustainability

You’ve heard of the staycation as a way to save resources and live a bit more lightly in your vacation’s environmental impact. If you would still like to get away a bit, consider a closer destination. If you are like me there has to be somewhere in North America you haven’t yet explored.

As I wrap up a trip to the Big Easy, I wanted to share some sustainable family travel tips for New Orleans:

See More with Public Transport – Being in the DC mode (and traveling with an infant) I opted to jump in a cab at the airport. My mom, who joined me to take care of Clark during a Finance Blogger conference, opted to take the airport shuttle and practically got a tour en route from the airport. We also opted for the old trolley car to explore the Garden District and were happy to support a pedicab after our walking tour was over.

Educate Yourself – Whether it is a museum, like the Insectarium that we visited, or a voodoo walking tour, you’ll probably thank yourself for what you’ve learned while exploring. People watching is also an excellent way to learn about wherever you are traveling to.

Avoid Tchotchkes – There is really no need for trinkets to remind you of your travels. We will let Clark keep his first set of Mardi Gas beads for awhile though, since they are cheap entertainment for kids of all ages.

Explore the Local Cuisine – You have to eat, so you might as well have this be part of your adventures in trying something new. In the south that is easier than you’d think.

What local(ish) places have you explored lately? Darcy and her family took a family vacation to British Columbia, Canada this summer and had a great trip.

Enjoy!

Miel

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Reward Yourself

With consumer debt at recent lows and savings up, Americans are more interested in what rewards their cards will give them.

As savvy sisters, we are always interested in seeing what are the best cards out there.

Darcy has been a fan of the easy Costco AmEx card, that rewards you for shopping in bulk.

I have used Chase cards for years, either with United Miles or with their Sapphire card.

As I will be getting a car soon, for the first time in over a decade, I am interested in checking out some gas cards.

Gas rewards cards are a great way for you to save money on one of the items that you need to buy. Being able to earn money back or save money on such a necessary item is extremely helpful for your budget.  

However, figuring out which gas rewards card is the right fit for your household can be difficult and time consuming.  That is why Sunoco has created the credit card comparison chart which allows you to easily narrow down which card is right for you.  With this tool you can easily compare the discounts and benefits of several different companies.  

What cards do you use, and why?

Cheers,

Miel

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