"Buying a fixer upper"

 

Are you thinking of buying a fixer upper? We just did! We aren’t builders in any way, but we did know that there are a few items that we definitely needed to inspect and look out for when buying our fixer upper. Here are the things you should look for:

10 Details to Check when Buying a Fixer Upper

Major structural damage falls into the category of “Don’t buy this house!” bad. Some structural damage is so bad that the entire house will need to be destroyed! Unless you are shopping for land, this is a pretty hefty problem.

When buying a fixer upper, you definitely want an inspector to come in and check out the structure of the home. They will look for cracks in the foundation, unevenness, issues with grading, and other potential structural issues. Most of these things can’t be solved with simple DIY enthusiasm.

The Bad

Wood Issues

Pretty much every house I’ve ever see has a wooden frame of some sort, and it’s incredibly important to make sure this wood is in good condition before you buy. The major issues you will see with wood are termites and rot. These things can either be bad or “Don’t buy this house bad” depending upon how far the problem has spread.

Termites

I highly recommend hiring a pest inspector prior to finalizing the purchase on any fixer upper. An active infestation can cause thousands of dollars of damage, and can be costly to eradicate. The house we are buying does have some slight termite damage from about twenty years ago, but the infestation was eradicated quickly and there are no further signs of an active infestation. We will continue to have the house treated and inspected on a yearly basis to ensure they don’t come back. We will also slowly replace the damaged pieces.

Rot

Rotting wood is the second big wood problem you need to look for when buying a fixer upper. Wood rot is generally caused by moisture, so if there is rot on the inside structure, you know that water is coming in from somewhere (generally not a good thing). Wood rot on the frame of the house could lead to devastating structural issues. You can check out this blog post on wood rot for more information on how to find (and treat!) it.  

Safety Issues

Buying a fixer upper can be a super fun challenge, but we don’t want to do something that’s potentially dangerous. Therefore, you really need to check for safety concerns before you buy. Check for structural hazards such as weak floors “Don’t buy this house bad”, loose fixtures, and random old holes (seriously, most of the houses we looked at had random holes in the floor from old heating systems or whatever).

Electrical/Fire hazards

Electrical hazards are the most concerning safety hazard. Not only can they shock you, but they can also cause fires. Have your inspector check the grounding and the wiring to the best extent possible. Some older homes may need a complete rewire, which can get incredibly expensive. It’s also not something that you should try doing yourself, unless you are a trained electrician.  

Toxins and Chemicals

Toxins and chemicals are also a safety concern, though they usually can be mitigated. If you have little kids, make sure that you get the lead paint test. Most older houses do have lead paint, but as long as no one eats it or inhales it you should be perfectly safe.  You should also check for radon gas and black mold, as exposure to both can be incredibly toxic. These problems can usually be mitigated, but you definitely want to know what you are getting into before you buy.

Leaks/Water Damage

You need to inspect every portion of the house for water damage, because you never know where there might be a leaky pipe. There is some slight water damage on the living room wall in the house we are buying, and we identified its source as the second bathroom that was incorrectly added. We surveyed the extent of the damage, and it didn’t look like the water damage led to any problems with the wood. These are things that you definitely need to be aware of before you buy!

 

"10 tips for buying a fixer upper"
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The Good

And by good, I mean things that actually aren’t a huge deal but will make others pass on the home. There are tons of small issues that will prevent people who don’t want to do anything from buying a house, but that will make it a fixer uppers dream!

Carpet

Ugly carpet is kind of a big deal in central Pennsylvania. Pretty much every house we looked at had some type of ugly, stinky carpet. But bad carpet isn’t a big deal! Replacing a carpet is an easy, low cost way to greatly improve the feel of an entire room. You can even change the carpet to hard wood or vinyl. It will basically be a clean slate for you.

Paint/wallpaper

Wall décor is another cosmetic issue that can make a house look terrible. Everyone has different tastes, and the majority of people selling homes in central PA have horrible taste in wallpaper. I wish they had awful taste in paint, as that’s far easier to fix! But ugly wallpaper isn’t a deal breaker. It’s harder to remove, but it’s not a major problem with the home. Don’t look past a fixer upper because the walls are ugly.

Dated

The fun part of buying a fixer upper is renovating a dated room for modern use! You may run into all sorts of old features such as seventies shag carpet, fifties appliances, and closed off rooms (I read somewhere that it was improper to have guests see your kitchen back in the day, is that true?). Making an older home shine with modern glory is the absolute best part of buying a fixer upper. I’m excited to make that happen!

Minor Fixes

If you want to pass on a home because of minor issues, you probably shouldn’t be buying a fixer upper. There are tons of small things that can be wrong with any house, labeled DIY or not. Some have creaky stairs, leaky faucets, or windows that stick. Others have small holes in the drywall or missing outlet covers. Homes with a lot of these issues may fall under a fixer upper, but they are easy to fix so don’t look past a home because of these defects. It will be fun to stretch out your DIY muscles with these easy smaller tasks!

What else?

For those of you who have been in the fixer upper game before, what are some other major things that you should check out before committing to a fixer upper? What do you wish you would have done differently?

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fixer upper

I’m buying my third house! But this time, I’m doing something a bit different (and kind of scary!). Instead of buying a completely updated ready to live in home, we are buying a fixer upper!

Why would we want to buy a fixer upper?

We decided to buy a fixer upper this time around because we didn’t want to have another mortgage. I’m already paying over $1200 a month on the Georgia house (though I’m renting it out now, so I can call that an investment!) and I didn’t want to add to the debt load. We also both thought it would be great fun to learn some DIY skills and make the home our own. Be on the lookout for a YouTube series about it!

The financial perks of buying a fixer upper

Buying a fixer upper can be a great financial decision. In our new market, property values aren’t very high to begin with, so you can find an amazing house for a super low price if don’t mind doing some work. We are buying a giant 4-bedroom Victorian style home for just over $50K! You can’t get that kind of deal in most areas (though to be fair, no one really wants to buy a house in this area). Buying a fixer upper in inflated real estate markets can also be a great idea. You can get a house with great potential for an amazing bargain! It’s definitely a great way to get the type of house you want without having to pay top dollar.

The Costs of Buying a Fixer Upper

Nothing is without its downsides. The biggest issue with buying a fixer upper is that you actually have to fix it up! You can either hire contractors to make the needed renovations, which can get crazy expensive, or you can opt to do most of the work yourself.

Brian and I are going to try to do the majority of the work ourselves and document it all on YouTube (and here, of course!) so you can see where we fail and how we succeed. However, we’ve already decided that we are going to leave anything potentially dangerous or that could cause major issues to the professionals (mostly electrical and major plumbing issues). We don’t want to make anything worse!

Thinking of Buying a Fixer Upper?

Resale Value

There are a few things that you need to take into consideration if you are thinking of buying a fixer upper. First, is the resale value.  Look at the cost of renovation versus the potential resale value of the home. The housing market in Central Pennsylvania is not good. There aren’t a lot of nice homes on the market, and the ones available don’t sell for more than $115k. If we can stick to a renovation budget of $30K, we might be able to make an additional $30K when we eventually sell it. Because of these tight margins, we have to be very careful about the amount of money we put into it. We don’t want to put so much money in that we can’t recoup it when we do eventually sell.

 

buying a fixer upper

 

Potential Rent

Some people buy fixer uppers with the intent to fix them then rent them out. This is a great option for building your real estate investment portfolio. However, you do need to make sure that the rental market in your area is worth the hassle. Do you want to do all that work to fix up a house to make a net of $100 per month? Probably not. Look at all of your costs (purchase price, potential mortgage payment, and renovation costs) and compare those to the potential monthly rental income to get an idea of whether this would be a good option. It could work really well in some markets, but could be a money pit in others.

What you want

Although the money parts (resale or rent) are important considerations, they not the only considerations. We plan on living in this house for a long time (and hey, maybe property values will increase some day!) so we do want to make it our own. We don’t want to get too excessive with the renovation costs, but we also want to build a home that works for our needs (a great thing about a fixer upper is that we have the ability to do that!). Our goal is to make the house a home.

If you are buying a fixer upper with the intent to live in it, deciding on what you want is the most important part. If you plan on living there for a long time, making it your own is more important than the resale value or potential rent.

What was your experience with buying a fixer upper?

Have you every considered buying a fixer upper? How did it turn out? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments!

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Yep, you read that right. Partner’s in Fire is doing a No Spend Year! Ok, so maybe the catchy headline is a tad bit misleading. Maybe we should call it a “No Frivolous Spend Year”. That doesn’t sound nearly as exciting though, does it?

What a No Spend Year means to us

The main point of our no spend year is to stay away from unnecessary spending all year. Our goals are to pay off our debt and recoup our savings. We also decided now, in January, what we will be spending money on this year, and the challenge is to not deviate from that decision, for the whole entire year!

What we Can Spend Money on this Year

Obviously, it’s impossible to go an entire year without spending any money. We need to eat, we need to live somewhere, we need utilities, and we need to drive to work. We also aren’t complete fuddy duddies, so we need to have a bit of fun. The important thing is to decide now what that fun will be and to not deviate from it.

Mandatory spending

We’ve all got bills to pay. Our mandatory spending this year is the same as it will be every year. We need to pay our taxes, utilities, gas, and food. This mandatory spending category covers all of our monthly bills. This is what we will spend each month on bills:

 

Taxes PA house 150
Home insurance PA House 100
Georgia house mortgage 1200
Georgia house maintenance 200
HBs Car 300
Stupid Decision Car 300
Car Insurance (all three cars) 300
Phones 300
Utilities 300
Groceries 800
   
   
   
Total Monthly Bills 3950

 

4k per month seems like an awful lot, but remember we are renting our house in Georgia out, so the tenets are paying the costs of that, and sometimes my ex pays for the stupid decision car and insurance (though not always). Also, these bills are for two people, four cats, and two giant dogs (hence the slightly high grocery bill).

New House Spending

Our biggest purchase during our no spend year is undoubtedly the new house in Pennsylvania. We are paying cash, so it’s going to wipe out the majority of our cash holdings (reason number one why rebuilding that this year is of utmost importance!). The house itself was a steal – 52K for a huge Victorian Style home. It’s a fixer upper, so we will need to put some money into renovations this year. We just got the inspection completed, and there don’t seem to be any major problems that make the home unsafe or unlivable, but there are a lot of cosmetic problems and a few things that will cause major problems down the road if they aren’t addressed soon. We are expecting the renovations to cost about 20K.

On the plus side, we thing that if we put that money into the home and make it nice, we will greatly increase the value, and we will most likely make money on it when we decide to resell it. We are also going to save money by doing a lot of the renovations ourselves!

Visits

We aren’t going to be total fuddy duddies during our no spend year. We’ve already decided that we will take two trips this year – one to Los Angeles to visit my friends and family, and another to Savannah to visit his. Both of those locations offer us free places to stay, and we can drive to Savannah to save even more money.

We decided that we can budget some money for these trips this year because personal relationships are the most important things in the world, and we don’t want to lose sight of that while trying to save money.

Fun

We are going to severely limit the amount of money that we spend on having fun this year, but we can’t have zero fun. Therefore, we decided to talk now about what are “fun” spending will be. Brian really loves video games, and he’s going to go back to streaming on Twitch as soon as we get settled into the new house. So, we decided that he can buy four new video games over the course of the year. This isn’t a lot at all for an active gamer, but he’s willing to make the huge sacrifice to ensure that we get all our stuff paid off.

We are also going to buy a Nintendo 64 and some of the old school games (especially Mario 64!). This console will provide us with hours of inside the house entertainment, so we won’t be crazy bored.

The final fun spending thing that we are allowing ourselves this year is a few day trips. We are definitely going to take Brian’s daughter to the Hershey theme park and Philadelphia, but we are also considering heading to New York City or Boston for a quick get-away. We want to take advantage of all the awesome stuff that super close to our new location!

Eating Out

Ok, we are realists. We know that it’s basically impossible to not eat out for an entire freaking year. That’s just not going to happen. Therefore, we allowed ourselves two nights a month for eating whatever we want. The BF really sucks at not eating out, so this is going to be a huge struggle for him. Getting him to bring a lunch to work every day rather than go to whatever fast food place is closest is going to be a huge struggle for me. But I think we will get there.

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What we Can’t Spend Money on this Year

Travel

Travel is one of my biggest budget busters. I’ve been on at least one international trip every year for the past five years. I’ve spent close to ten grand every year on it! I love to travel, to explore new cities, foods, and cultures, so this limitation is going to be really hard on me. But it will be worth it to ensure that I’ll have the opportunity to travel even more in the years to come.

Shopping

No new clothes, no new shoes, no new toys. This is going to be rough for both of us! The majority of our unnecessary spending has been on frivolous stuff that we find at malls (who remembers the crappy Zelda chest from My Boyfriend Sucks with Money?). If we are going to succeed at this no spend year and achieve our budget goals, we need to totally eliminate this type of spending. It will be easier for me than for him, but hopefully giving him the four games will help. It’s going to be a rough year!

Eating out

Yes, we are giving ourselves a little leeway here, but for the most part our no spend year includes no eating out. That means bag lunches, dinners at home, and learning how to cook. Thankfully I have the Healthy Eating Ultimate Bundle which will help me plan out or meals and learn how to cook tasty delicious meals. Maybe we can even start cooking as a couple’s activity! That would be fun!

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Going Out

I’m a homebody, so this is way easier for me. But the BF loves going out to bars for tasty adult beverages. This is a huge budget buster! One tasty adult beverage costs almost eight bucks! And who (other than me) has just one? One night on the town can easily cost over fifty bucks, and that’s just unnecessary.

We are also going to severely limit other types of going out. Movies, bowling, mini-golf, arcades, coffee shops, malls, and anything else entertaining are all on our no-no list. Sure, we may do one or two of these things this year, but they will be few and far between. Instead, we will have free fun at parks, hiking trails, and at home.

Who’s with me?

So who is with me on the No Spend Year Challenge? Lets all work together and keep each other accountable for sticking to our plans! We can do it!

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"Goals for 2019"

I’m super excited about 2019! I just moved to a new state and started a new job, so 2019 is basically the start of a brand-new journey. I definitely took these challenges into consideration when thinking about what my goals for 2019 should be! A lot of thought went into this, especially after failing at most of my 2018 goals. I still want to achieve most of those things, but I also realized that I need to be a bit more realistic.

Goals for 2019

Personal Goals

Be Happy!

My most important personal goal for 2019 is to just be happy. It’s not always easy. Life can be hard sometimes (especially right now, when we are renting a small room an hour away from work, don’t have all of our babies with us, and don’t know when our next paycheck is coming due to forces outside of our control). But my goal is to try to remain positive. This rough patch will pass, and 2019 is going to be an amazing year.

Healthy Eating

Healthy eating is one of my top goals for 2019, as it was for 2018. However, after the first two months of 2018, I totally failed at it. This year, I have an amazing plan to stick with it for the entirety of 2019 and beyond: The Healthy Eating Ultimate Bundle. It’s an amazing product that has over a thousand dollars’ worth of recipes, e-books, meal planning, and e-courses for only $37! This all in one bundle makes it super easy to stick to your healthy eating goal for this new year. You can read my blog post about it here, or you can just check out the website for yourself! With the ultimate bundle’s help, I’m not going to fail at healthy eating this year.

HMPB Instagram Banner 

Buying and renovating a House

Since I just moved to a new location, I have to buy a new house (no one rents to crazy cat people, such a shame). The area that I moved to has tons of options for cheap houses – but most need a bit of work. I’m ok with that though! It’s always been a dream of mine to renovate a home, and the property values in this area will make that dream a reality. In fact, we just put in an offer for an amazing Victorian style fixer upper, so keep your fingers crossed for us!

Maintaining our relationship

I feel kind of weird about putting this out there as a goal for 2019…I mean we all know what happened last year. The key difference this year though is that I actually want to achieve it. I love my boyfriend with all my heart and I’ve never felt so supported and loved in a relationship. And, he didn’t make me put this! I don’t feel like our relationship at this point needs a lot of work, but I also don’t want to get complacent. I want to show him how much I appreciate him every day. And maybe, by this time next year, my goal will be to maintain our marriage.

Money Goals

I learned last year that you should never ever have net worth goals based on the potential performance of the stock market. That was an epic fail! So, my money goals for 2019 are things that are more within my control.

Debt repayment

My number one money goal for 2019 is to get my credit card paid off. I wrote a guest post on Arrest Your Debt late last year about getting myself into a credit card hole, and I’ve been working hard to get it paid off. Unfortunately, with moving expenses and a car repair, I’ve had to increase my credit card debt in the past few weeks.  This year, my credit card debt is going to be my top focus. If all goes well, I should have it paid off by April.

Build up Cash

I’m basically wiping out all of my cash holdings to buy a new house (but hey, I’m going be mortgage free!). So, my next goal of 2019 is to rebuild my cash holdings. This actually shouldn’t be that difficult without the mortgage payment. My goal is to rebuild twenty thousand dollars’ worth of emergency savings by the end of the calendar year. That’s a lot, but I definitely think it’s doable!

Maintain my Investments

I’m not going to change my investment allocations for the new year, so this should be an exceedingly easy goal to achieve. I’m going to keep investing in my 401K at a rate of 6% (and getting the match) and I’m going to continue investing my $100 a month into my Vanguard account. Easy Peasy!

"new years goals for 2019"

Blog Goals

Increase readership

I still have yet to hit 1000 users in any given month on my blog organically. My number one blog goal of 2019 is to reach achieve this. I’ve been so close in recent months that I definitely think it’s achievable (maybe even this month!!). My next readership goal is way more ambitious. I want to get to 25k users a month so that I can join Mediavine’s ad network. I don’t know if that’s going to be achievable in 2019, but I’m going to go for it!

Make some money!

My second blog goal for 2019 is to make some money! I love blogging because I love to write and I love offering valuable information to my readers. But it would be nice to get some compensation for it. I think last year’s goal of 1100 was really ambitious for a brand-new blog, but I don’t think it’s out of reach for a blog that’s been around the block for a year. I’m going to keep that as my goal, and I’m going to achieve it! You can help me out by shopping at Amazon through my affiliate link(hint hint wink wink).

Social Media Goals

I failed at pretty much all of my social media goals last year, but that’s ok! I’m just going to have the same goals for this year! I can definitely get to 5000 twitter followers by the end of the year (I’m only 1500 away, so I should be able to get there by March!). I’ve finally figured out that it’s pretty easy to gain followers on Pinterest just by following others (I know, rocket science, right?) so I should be able to get to 5000 on there this year as well.

My goals for Facebook and Instagram are a little different this year. I’d love to gain more followers on both platforms, but I’d rather focus on building a better community. Therefore, my goal on those platforms is to share more meaningful content rather than to build a following. If I keep sharing interesting, engaging content, the followers will come. And they will be engaged, which is way more important.

Travels Near and Far

As you can see, my goals for 2019 have kind of excluded my other website, Travels Near and Far. I realized last year that it’s just way too much to work full time and to run two blogs. Therefore, my focus is going to continue to be Partner in Fire, and I’ll just maintain the Instagram account for Travels. When I achieve financial independence, I’ll go back to travels near and far and make it as amazing as this blog is.

Your goals

What does 2019 have in store for you? What are your New Year’s Goals? Let’s partner together and help each other achieve all of our goals for 2019.

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healthy eating bundle

Happy New Year! Are you ready to start this year off right? So am I! So, as is tradition, we’ve established some great new year’s goals for 2019. I’m going to keep you in suspense on most of them so we can focus one that is incredibly important: Healthy Eating.

Healthy Eating for 2019

Last year, my new year’s goal was just to lose weight. I practically starved myself during the last two weeks of my challenge, but I did lose 20 pounds! Which I promptly gained back as soon as the challenge was over.

The thing is, making your goal to lose weight doesn’t work. You try fad diets and go no carb for a few weeks, and yeah the pounds melt off but its not sustainable. I love food, there is no freaking way I’m sticking to any type of diet that is going to limit me. I need a way to incorporate healthy eating into my regular schedule.

That’s why I’m so thankful that I found the Healthy Eating Ultimate Bundle. It has an entire year’s worth of meal planning and recipes for every type of diet. And they even have snack and dessert recipes! We all know I wouldn’t survive without snacks and desserts. I mean, what kind of life is that?

"healthy eating"

Healthy Eating Ultimate Bundle

But the great thing about the Healthy Eating Ultimate Bundle is that it includes so much more than recipes. I mean, I could troll recipes.com if that’s all I was interested in (though I do have a really hard time finding good recipes there unless I know exactly what I want to cook and need a recipe, which rarely happens. Do people really scroll through online recipe databases to get meal ideas?). Anyway, the Healthy Eating Ultimate Bundle is way better than that. It offers thirty different meal plans for tons of different scenarios – from vegetarian meals to kid’s meals, crock pot meals to quick meals, and even for party hosting and themed meals. It also has meal plans for meal prepping and for frugal eating! There are plenty of meal plans for everyone no matter what they are into! It’s freaking amazing!

The Best Part

But my favorite part of the Healthy Eating Ultimate Bundle is the courses – specifically the Flavor Crash Course by Courtney Polivka. This course teaches you how to cook without having to rely on recipes! It teaches you how to craft your own culinary masterpieces by learning about different flavor profiles. It also shows you how to combine ingredients for the most flavorful results. This is an amazing course for people (like me) who are clueless about cooking. This course alone costs $200, so even if you buy the bundle just for this course you are getting an amazing freaking deal! It’s only $37 dollars for the entire bundle!!

This Deal Doesn’t Last

The one negative thing about the Healthy Eating Ultimate Bundle is that this deal is only available for a very short time. You have to act now to get access to all the awesomeness in this bundle! After January 7, this deal goes away for good! But wait, there’s more! (I’ve always wanted to say that!). If you purchase the bundle before January 4th, you gain access to the 30 meals in 30 days challenge. This early bird special is a great way to get into the habit of preparing healthy meals right away – as they say, it takes 30 days to make a habit.

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Lets start this New Year Off Right!

So who is with me on starting this New Year off right with an awesome Healthy Eating Ultimate Bundle? Click here to purchase your bundle today for only thirty-seven dollars. You don’t want to miss this amazing value!. It’s a great way to get your year off to an amazing start.

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"2018 goals"

Last January, I posted a very lengthy (and ambitious!) article about all of my goals for 2018. Today, we are going to go through each goal and see how we did.  Welcome to the inner workings of Partner’s in Fire, and hopefully my mistakes can help you when you set your goals for 2019!

2018 Goals Recap

Relationship Goals!

My number one goal in January of 2018 was to work on my relationship with my ex. This is one goal that I’m extremely happy to have failed at! After we broke up, I wrote a post about how terrible the relationship really was, and I’m so thankful that I was able to escape it.

I honestly think that this break up had a ripple affect across the rest of my goals. It’s easy to spend all of your free time working on side hustles and other projects when you don’t actually want to spend time with your partner. I knew even back then that the relationship was bad and I needed to get out, but I just didn’t have the strength.  I immersed myself in projects to avoid confrontation. 

In fact, the only reason my top goal of 2018 was to work on my relationship was to placate him. He would’ve gotten upset if I didn’t include it. That alone should have told me how toxic it was. I mean, it did, and I knew way before that how toxic is was, but it really is hard to escape a toxic relationship. If any of you lovely readers are in a similar situation, please please please reach out to me. I’m here for you and I absolutely won’t judge any of your choices. I’ve been there and I get it.

Increase Net Worth by 50K

I’m not nearly as happy about my failure on this goal. My net worth actually decreased by 15K! And that’s after it grew by quite a bit in the first two quarters.  Apparently having a net worth increase goal that relies on external factors like the stock market isn’t the best idea ever.  Lesson learned.

 My net worth loss was due to the drastic changes in the stock market over the past few months – especially December. Market crashes happen, and I’m not actually that upset about it because I’m still invested for the long term. I’ve just been buying stocks on sale for the past few weeks!

I know this is the time of year that everyone is looking at their portfolios, and due to political factors things aren’t looking good. But stay the course! I know it sucks to see such huge losses, but as long as you still have a long investment time-frame, you will be fine.

Blog Goals

My main blog goal of 2018 was to publish at least two posts per month. Win! I actually did way better than that! Outside of my 6-week hiatus, I posted two blog posts almost every single week! I failed at making my blog profitable; my goal was to make a whopping $1200 and I only made $17.00. But hey, 17 bucks is 17 buck! I started a few more affiliate programs late in 2018, and I think those are going to increase my profits for the coming years. 2019 is going to be a great year for Partners in Fire!

I failed epically at all my blog goals for my other website, Travels Near and Far. I didn’t edit any of my older posts and I didn’t write any new ones. It was super ambitious to think that I’d have time to do both. I did not.  Well, maybe I would have if I had stuck to the two posts a month goal, but instead I decided to put all of my energy into Partners in Fire, and I think that will pay off in spades in the future.

Social Media Goals

I actually achieved some of my social media goals! I got over 1000 followers on Instagram and over 100 Facebook likes. My Twitter and Pinterest goals were far more ambitious, and I didn’t quite reach those. I ended 2018 with about 3500 Twitter followers and only about 1000 Pinterest followers. I know I’ll reach the 5K mark on Twitter in 2019, and maybe I’ll be a bit less ambitious about Pinterest.

However, I did learn that it’s not really the quantity of followers that you have but the quality. My ex built up the Instagram account before we broke up, and it was horrible. There were tons of “follow for follow” types of accounts following me. I had to drop all of those and rebuild with an authentic following. I lost a lot of followers while I was doing that, but I think the quality of new followers is much better. Its much better to have 10 real followers than 100 fake ones.

The only social media account I even tried to grow for Travels Near and far was my Instagram account. And guess what, I got to over 1000 followers! Then I lost about 15 of those because that’s how Instagram is. Does it count as a win if I achieved it then backtracked?

Health goals

Do you remember me talking about the biggest loser competition at work? Well guess what, I won! I lost 22 freaking pounds in about 2 months last year! And then I used the next 10 months to gain about 15 of those pounds back. So…still kind of a win? I do still feel pretty healthy, I think losing 20 pounds was actually way too much for me. I could probably stand to lose about 5 pounds right now, so maybe I’ll try to be a tad bit healthier next year.

Unfortunately, I totally failed at my other health goal. I was going to mediate every single night! That lasted about a month.  But it’s definitely something I want to get back into!

Gardening

One goal I actually stuck with in 2018 was making a garden! We built a cute little fence to keep the dogs out and planted all of the things! Unfortunately, I was a bit ambitious, and other than getting some ginormous zucchini, the garden was basically a fail. You can read all about it here! But the important thing is that I tried it, and I learned to be less ambitious for next year. I think I’m going to stick with one or two tomato and cucumber plants.

Side Hustles

 The only side hustle I worked on this year was the blog, and like I said above it was not profitable. But I’m going to keep at it! I’m constantly improving my blogging skills, and I know that 2019 will be an awesome year for Partners in Fire.

The side hustle I really failed at was my resale hustle. I didn’t even go to one garage sale in 2018. There was probably cool stuff on sale in Georgia too! Oh well. Maybe I’ll get back into that now that I live in Pennsylvania. There’s probably a bunch of cool old stuff here too!

So what did I do this year?

I failed on basically all of my 2018 goals. But that’s ok! Things change, and when they do priorities also change. I set these goals thinking I would be in a terrible relationship. As it turns out, when you are in a good relationship you actually want to make time for your partner. Who would’ve thought? I didn’t have the time to focus on all of these things, so I focused on my new relationship and on building Partners in Fire. I think that was the right choice, as I’m incredibly happy in my relationship and I’m happy with where Partners in Fire is heading as a blog.

Lessons Learned

Although being ambitious in goal setting is a good thing (why set goals that are too easy to achieve?), I learned that being too ambitious isn’t always the answer. My goals for next year will be a little less ambitious and a little more thought out. I’ll make them difficult yet achievable, and I won’t spread myself too thin. I can’t do everything, and it was silly to think I’d be able to.

How did you fair with your 2018 goals? Did you achieve them? Did you realize that you were overly ambitious as well? Tell me what you learned about goal setting in 2018!

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"gift giving guide"

Hey folks! Transparency Disclosure- Some of the links in this gift giving guide are affiliate links. That means I’ll receive a small commission if you decide to click on it and buy something. Don’t worry, it doesn’t cost you anything extra!

It’s the holiday season! And you know what that means – time for mass consumerism! Oh, I mean it’s time to show your loved ones how much you love them with all the presents! A lot of writers will publish a gift giving guide that tells you what to get your husband or mother or best friend when the author has no idea what types of people they are. Oh, they are a mom so they’d love this! Well that isn’t always true. That’s why I decided to write a gift giving guide based on what people like to do! It’s a crazy idea, but I hope it helps you find that perfect gift for everyone in your life! So what should you get your best friend whose a bit sentimental? This handy gift giving guide has the answer!

Gift Giving Guide 

For the Adventurer

I’m an adventurer, and I have to say the best gifts ever are experiences. If you have someone with a lust for adventure in your life, get them something they can do! If you want to give a lavish gift, book them a trip somewhere (and as a bonus, you get to go with!). Even a short weekend get-a-way will be a huge win for the adventurer! If you want to do something special but not trip special, get them tickets to a concert, sporting event, or theme park. Experiences are way more important than things to the adventurer.

 

Viator 

If you can’t arrange for a new experience; get them something that will fit with their favorite type of adventure. Do they enjoy hikes? Get them a new ruck, new shoes, or a tactical coat. Or just search for hiking gear on Amazon for thousands of ideas. Have a SCUBA diver friend? Get them the best new snorkel or face mask. There are loads of gift giving ideas for whatever your adventurer’s favorite activity is.

For the Gamer

Clearly you must get the gamer in your life this season’s hottest new games! My boyfriend is a gamer, and he’s big into the new Pokémon game, Super Smash Brothers, and Red Dawn Redemption. If they already have enough games, you can try getting them some new gaming accessories. Maybe they need better headphones, or a new controller/mouse. There are tons of options for gifts for gamers. You can even get them a fancy new gaming computer if you want to go all out!

For the Super fan

Super fans are the easiest people to buy gifts for. What’s their fandom? Get them anything that’s related to it. As you all know, I’m a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It’s the best show ever.  I’d appreciate any Buffy themed gift – from t-shirts to mugs to action figures!

For the learner

Learners love books!! Find out what their favorite topics are and find books that are related. Do they love science? Look into books on astrophysics, anthropology, or new technologies. History lover? There are thousands of books on every freaking time period you can imagine. Into current affairs/politics? Lots of options there too. The learner in your life will love getting books on their favorite topics.

For the Hipster

The Hipster in your life doesn’t want something trendy from Amazon. Show him/her you know them well and give them a different kind of gift. Try custom apparel from Teepublic that showcases their favorite things. The hipster in your life would also appreciate something nostalgic, like a print or figure from one of their favorite childhood shows.

For the Jock

Sports Gear! You know your jock’s favorite teams, so get them something to commemorate it! You can’t go wrong with jerseys, pint glasses, dish towels – seriously anything with their team’s emblem on it is going to be an awesome gift. One of the best gifts I ever got was a cat bed made with Chicago Bear’s fabric. It was hand made too, which made it extra special. 

For the New Ager

The New Agers in my life are the hardest for me to shop for. This term can encompass so many different things, its hard to know exactly what they would like. Candles can be a big hit for most new agers – they are perishable and you can always use more candles. Depending on what they are most into, you can get them some crystals, meditation aids, incense or maybe even new yoga gear.

For the Homesteader

Even the homesteader who has it all could use more jars! With all the canning and juicing, those get used up fairly quickly. If the homesteader in your life doesn’t have it all, consider getting them a new composter or some garden tools. If your homesteader is into cooking and baking, you can get them some new useful cookware.

For the Sentimental

Sentimental folks love gifts that you put a lot of thought into. If you are crafty, use your craft to create something unique for them. If you aren’t crafty, you can also make them a photo album or get them a framed photo of the two of you together – that will definitely brighten their day! Sentimental folks will also appreciate nostalgic gifts just as much as the hipsters; so, if you can’t put something together, get them something that will remind them of you in a different way.

For the Creative

If you have a creative person in your life, get them something that they can use in their craft. Get the sewer/crocheter some new fabrics or threads. Painters can always use more canvases and paints. You could also go an easier route and get an adult coloring bookand some  colored pencils. Many creative people would love to just zone out with some simple coloring. 

For the Busy Parent

The best gift you can give a busy parent in your life is a night off! Offer to take the kids for an evening so they can do something for them. You can get the parents a certificate for a spa day so they can pamper themselves while knowing their kids are in good hands. If you aren’t into watching kids, think about gifts that will make the parents lives easier. Maybe they could use a new Keurig to make their morning coffee ritual easier, or a crock pot to make dinner easier. There are tons of options!

You do need to be careful here though. Unless your busy parent is a neat freak; don’t get them cleaning supplies. My dad always used to buy my mom vacuums and mops and stuff like that for holidays. Maybe she enjoyed those things, but I’d be pissed if my boyfriend got me anything like that as a gift. Know your loved ones! This is just a gift giving guide with tons of ideas, but I don’t know your loved ones like you do. 

For the kids

Ok, no gift giving guide would be complete without a general section for kids. Kids generally like anything that they can open up, but I prefer to give them fun yet educational gifts. You can find tons of children’s microscopes, telescopes, and experiment kits on amazon! Get the future engineers erector sets, Legos, or Lincoln logs. These types of gifts can lead to hours of enjoyment, and the kids don’t even have to realize that they are learning something. Wins all around!

For the Person who has everything

I guarantee that the person who has everything doesn’t have this:

Funny Mug

Am I wrong? You can get it at Teepublic! But seriously, if you don’t know what to get someone because you don’t really know their style or they seem to have it all, you can’t go wrong with a gift card (unless you are super close to them!). You can either get them a gift card to their favorite store, or get them a general visa or amazon gift card. Either way, that lets them get whatever they want. I don’t advise this for someone you are close with though, because you should absolutely know the style of your closest friends or partner.

So there you have it folks – a gift giving guide that will cover pretty much anyone in your life. I really hope this helps you find that perfect gift for everyone who is special to you. But if I missed an important type of person, please let me know in the comments, and let us all know what types of gifts we should get them!

 

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What Buffy taught me

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is obviously my favorite show of all time. I even wrote a post about how amazing it is! But not only is it a great show, it’s also holds tons of valuable life lessons. Buffy taught me so much about life, and surprisingly enough, it also taught me a few things about finance. And if you’ve never see Buffy before, watch it for free with Hulu or buy the seasons with Amazon Prime.

~Spoilers Ahead~

What Buffy Taught me about Life

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is basically one giant metaphor about life. Almost every episode has an overarching theme that involves real life struggles. The show covers growing up, surviving high school, fitting in, finding your place in the world, coping with family drama, and dealing with less than healthy relationships. There are so many life lessons to be learned that it’s hard to focus on just a few, but I’ll try to pick the ones that resonated with me the most.

Life is hard

“The hardest thing about this world is to live in it.”

It seems dire, but it’s true. Life can be hard. It’s not easy to get up every day and deal with the struggles of adult life. There are so many different priorities to juggle, sometimes it’s a win when we make it through the week! Buffy illustrates this struggle in pretty much every episode. In the early seasons, Buffy juggles school, keeping her mom’s approval, being a normal teenager, and of course her slaying duties. In the later seasons, she juggles a career, caring for her sister, taking care of the house, and being there for her friends with her slaying duties. It’s not easy for her, but she’s strong and she keeps fighting.

This lesson isn’t limited to Buffy. Buffy’s first love, Angel, was struggling so much with the guilt from the things that he did that tried to kill himself.

“Am I thing worth saving? Am I a righteous man? The world wants me gone!”

We’ve all had low points in our lives. I’ve struggled with depression, and I’ve struggled with wondering if it was all worthwhile. But it is. And it gets better. Buffy was right.

Strong is fighting

But it’s worth it. Angel lived, and ended up saving the world on numerous occasions. I doubt any of us will do anything that hard core, but we all make our little corners of the world better every day. And that’s worth the struggle.

Be comfortable with yourself

Throughout the series, Buffy struggles with relationships. She’s pretty terrible at them, which is one of the flaws that makes her such a great character. She actually realizes that in season five though, and rather than pursue another losing relationship, she decides that she needs to get to know herself before she will ever be happy in a relationship. She has to be comfortable with Buffy first.

buffy taught me to be comfortable with me

This is the truest lesson you can ever learn. The only person who can ever make you happy is you. The only person responsible for your happiness is you. If you are depending on a significant other to make you happy, you will surely be disappointed.

If you learn to be comfortable with yourself, you will find happiness with yourself. And when you do that, you will be able to find happiness in a healthy relationship.

No Man is worth your life – ever!

Buffy pretty much hits you on the head with the fact that no man (or woman!) is worth your life. Although there are plenty of examples in Buffy of the main character’s choosing their own health and well-being over a significant other, the best example is in season seven’s “Him”, where Dawn literally lays down in front of a train to prove her love for some dude (Love spells are dangerous folks!).

Obviously most real-life examples aren’t this drastic, but it’s way too easy to lose yourself in a romantic partner. I was losing myself when I was stuck in a relationship with an alcoholic. I was becoming an angry, bitter shell of myself. Buffy taught me it was ok to still be myself, and not get wrapped up in his drama. Buffy gave me the strength to finally end a toxic relationship for good. If Buffy can kill her lover to save the world, I can break up with a toxic boyfriend to save myself.

Its all about Power

“Power. I have it, they don’t. This bothers them”

When it really comes down to it, life is all about power. We all strive to have power over ourselves and our own lives, while others seek to exert power over us. We often fall into the trap of letting others have power over us, whether it be our employers (or the Watcher’s Counsel in Buffy), our families, our friends, or even our partners.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer explores the theme of power over and over again throughout the seasons. In season three, the Watcher’s Counsel takes away her power to put her through a barbaric and unnecessary test, and in season five that same counsel tries to trick Buffy into giving up her power.

its all about power

Buffy also explores the dark side of power. In Season six, Willow becomes addicted to powerful witchcraft. She uses her magic to change the world to her own liking, rather than to help people. Her abuse of power is so out of control that she erases her girlfriend’s memory, effectively taking away her ability to be an equal partner. Willow’s lust for power eventually leads her down an incredibly dark path, one that puts the entire world in danger.

Power doesn’t have to be dark. At the series end, Buffy decides to share her power with thousands of other girls; empowering women across the globe to take control over their own lives in one of the most compelling scenes of the entire show.

“I say we change the rule. My power should be our power. Every girl who could have the power will have the power. Are you ready to be strong?”

Buffy taught me that I have power, and I shouldn’t be afraid to use it. She showed me that I can be strong, even in the face of adversity. But she also taught me not to abuse that power; because that only leads to pain.

What Buffy Taught me about Finance

Weird that a teenage drama would inspire money lessons, isn’t it? But Buffy didn’t shy away from any topic! In fact, it was one of the first shows to talk about investing in stocks online! Sure, it was a one-off remark, but I’m impressed it even happened! Fortunately, since I discovered Buffy in 2015 and not in 2002 when that episode aired, I was already well versed in the world of online trading. Buffy’s financial lessons may be a little more sparse than it’s life lessons, but it definitely had a few gems.

Sometimes you Have to take a Crappy Job

You gotta do what you gotta do to pay the bills, even if that means flipping burgers at the Double Meat Palace. In season six, Buffy takes a terrible low wage job because she has to. Slaying doesn’t pay the bills, and unfortunately, she doesn’t have the job experience or time for anything else.

Xander is the poster child of crappy jobs on the show. He delivers pizzas, drives an ice cream truck, and trolls employment boards while he struggles to find his place in the world. His hard work does eventually pay off though! He finds a temporary position working construction, which he is able to parlay into a career.

Xander taught us that it pays to dabble in a few things in order to figure out what suits us. He also taught us that it’s ok to work at terrible jobs while figuring things out.

Houses Need Maintenance

Things get rough for Buffy in season six. With her mom gone, it falls on her to fix everything that gets broken in the house. For some reason, monsters keep barging in and breaking all her things – lamps, doors, tables, even pipes! A major plumbing disaster (that came with a giant bill!) is what drove Buffy to get her crappy job in the first place.

expensive lamp

Things get broken in my house all time, but luckily, it’s mostly wear & tear stuff rather than monster damage. But Buffy’s struggles did resonate with me. She owned a single-family home and was responsible for all the maintenance – monster related or not. If you don’t have protections on your home, that can get incredibly expensive. Luckily, I bought a home warranty with my home, so most repairs are covered after the first $100 initial inspection fee.

Get rich schemes are never the answer

In season six’s “As You Were”, Buffy is still working her crappy low wage job that we talked about above. Enter Spike, the notorious vampire. He didn’t understand why Buffy was “lowering” herself to take such a degrading position. After she sadly tells him that she needs the money, he hatches a horrible scheme to get money. Spike decides to trade in expensive but incredibly dangerous demon eggs. Of course, his plan is foiled, and his home is destroyed in the process.

 Although I would never try to trade in something as dangerous as demon eggs; Spike’s failure offers a valuable lesson. Don’t take the easy way out to make money. Easy money is a myth, and usually a scam. If something seems to good to be true, it probably is.

Capitalism is Awesome

“But I have their money. Who cares what kind of day they have?”

Anya is an awesome character. She starts out as a vengeance demon, but loses her powers and takes a job in retail at the magic shop. Anya talks about how great making money is every chance she gets. She loves the idea of being a cog in the giant wheel of capitalism, and extols it’s values every chance she gets.

dance of capitalist

Although many of Anya’s one liners about money are used for comic relief, she’s not always wrong (though she’s often a bit too blunt about it). Money is incredibly important. It can’t buy happiness, but it can give you options and control over your life.

Life is Expensive

The biggest lesson on finance that you can learn from watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer is that life is expensive, and you need to find a way to pay for it. The different characters in the show face this challenge in different ways. They deal with unemployment, low wage jobs, moving away from their parents, and trying to apply for loans – all real-life stuff that everyone deals with. And it’s freaking expensive! Being an adult is expensive.

It’s ok though. Life may be expensive, but there are tons of options available to help us pay for it. We can do all the things that the characters in Buffy do – and more since using the internet to make extra money wasn’t even a thing back then! Buffy taught us that life is expensive, but it’s also manageable.

What did your favorite show teach you?

I can write and talk all day about how great Buffy is and the life lessons that it imparts, but I think two thousand words is enough. I want to hear from you! What is your favorite show, and what did it teach you about life and money?

 

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It’s my Blogiversary! For this very special milestone, I’m giving myself (and all of you!) a blogging treat. I’m going to write about whatever I want, regardless of whether it’s in my niche or not (Hint: it’s not). So today, I’m writing this bonus post on Why Buffy is the Greatest Show of all Time. 

Why Buffy is the Greatest Show of All time

There are so many reasons why Buffy is the greatest show of all time, I mean have you seen it? If you haven’t yet, get Hulu and watch it, then come back and read this. There will definitely be spoilers in this post! I also must warn you – the first season isn’t the greatest. It’s full of 90’s campiness and terrible PSA’s. The second season is about 50/50. It offers some of the best episodes in television history, but they are followed up by terrible campy episodes. It’s worth it though! The campiness pretty much goes away in season three, and by that time the genius of the show really shines. So, with that disclaimer out of the way, let’s delve into why Buffy is the greatest show of all time.

The Characters

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a character driven show. There is a plot, and it’s entertaining, but the plot is a device used to explore the different personalities of the characters and to help them develop. I have never seen a show do such a great job of fully developing characters. The four main characters, Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Giles, all have very human strengths and weaknesses, which are all expanded upon throughout the course of the show.

All four have very human flaws. Buffy is terrible at relationships and communicating with her significant other. She also struggles with finding a balance between her calling (being a slayer) and her normal life. Willow is afraid that she will never be more than that “nerdy little girl”, and struggles with controlling her lust for power. Xander comes from a broken family, doesn’t know how to treat women, and struggles with the transition to adulthood. Giles has a shady past and struggles with feeling needed. These weaknesses lead all of the characters to bad decisions, and bad decisions in the Buffy verse tend to get people hurt.

Related: What Buffy Taught Me About Life and Finance

However, even with the bad decisions and character flaws, they are all good people at heart. You want to root for them, because although they struggle, they all really want to do good in the world. Their flaws make them human, and that makes them relatable. The characters on Buffy feel more real than the characters in any show I’ve ever watched. They are a huge part of what makes Buffy so great.

The supporting characters, Cordelia, Angel, Oz, Spike, Anya, and Tara, Dawn and Joyce are all completely developed as well. Each character on the show is three dimensional, with their own goals, hopes, dreams, strengths, and weaknesses. None of them exists solely as a plot device to the others.

The Emotions

Buffy is amazing at playing off of your emotions. This show can make you laugh and then make you cry like no other. It has amazing one liners (Buffy’s silly puns when she’s slaying, Xander’s ridiculous quips, and Willow just being Willow) and also some hilarious comedic situations. Does anyone remember the Buffy Bot? She’s hysterical! But the show isn’t a comedy, and it can hit you so hard in the feels that you don’t even know what happened. The episode “Passions” in season two had the first shocking death of a main character. But it wasn’t her death so much as the meticulous way the killer set her body up that was the incredibly heart-wrenching. This show knows how to shock and disturb its viewers. I never expected to experience this much emotion while watching a silly teenager show about vampires.

sad buffy

The Stand-Alone Episodes

“Hush”

Buffy has some of the best stand-alone episodes in television history. Seriously, Joss Whedon is a genius. His first true masterpiece was season four’s “Hush”, an episode with strikingly little dialect. Everyone thought that Buffy’s success was only due to the snappy dialect. Whedon accepted the challenge, and wrote an episode where monsters steal everyone’s voice. The Gentlemen, as they were called, were some of the creepiest monsters ever to be featured on Buffy. The action sequences and the attempts to communicate without the spoken word were ground breaking – this had never been done in television. “Hush” is absolutely one of my favorites.

“The Body”

“The Body” is another stand-alone episode that is a cinematic masterpiece. In this heart wrenching episode, Buffy’s mother dies of natural causes. This episode captured the feeling of hopeless we have when a loved one dies like nothing I’ve ever watched. Every character deals with grief in their own way. Buffy imagines that she was able to save her mother. Willow, Xander, Tara, and Anya are angry, and unable to comprehend the loss. Giles tries to be strong for Buffy but is overcome with his own grief. And then, Buffy has to try to pull herself together for her little sister. The lack of music throughout the episode adds to the realism, and you really feel like you are there mourning with Buffy and her friends. This episode is so powerful that I can hardly even watch it when I’m on a Buffy re-watch.

“Once More With Feeling”

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention “Once More with Feeling” as the best stand-alone episode of the series. It does tie into the plot, so it might not actually be a stand-alone, but this is probably one of the best episodes of any show in television history. “Once More with feeling” is a musical episode – in fact Buffy was one of the first show’s ever to pull it off. The songs are fun and catchy, but are also powerful and give a peek into the psyche of the characters. It’s a masterpiece. I can’t really say more about it, you just have to watch it.

It’s Groundbreaking

Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a ground-breaking show. It was one of the first shows ever to feature a strong female lead character, and a mostly female supporting cast. But part of the genius of Buffy is that it didn’t bill itself as such. Buffy was just a girl who happened to be chosen, and her calling turned her into a strong leader. It was an incredibly feminist show that didn’t pat itself on the back for being feminist. Buffy is a leader that anyone could look up to.

Buffy also featured the first normalized lesbian relationship on network television. Willow and Tara’s romance was one of the healthiest relationships on the entire show (until Willow got all crazy with the magics). They shared the first real lesbian kiss ever featured on a network show, and it wasn’t done to sexualize the couple. It was a sweet kiss shared in a moment of grief. It’s amazing that a television show could do so much to help normalize homosexual relationships.

Willow and tara kiss

The Over Arching Themes

The High School Years

Buffy is a show about life. It uses monsters as metaphors for things that we all deal with regularly. The overarching theme of the first three seasons is that high school is hell. This is portrayed with an entrance to hell directly beneath the high school. Buffy portrays common high school problems with monster metaphors (often in a super campy way!). There is an episode about a teacher who preys on high school boys, a girl who feels invisible, jocks who get away with anything, online predators, and trying to fit in with the cool kids. All of these things are common problems that many high schoolers deal with on a daily basis.

Transitioning

Seasons four and five deal with the transition from high school to adulthood. The girls go to college, while Xander tries to find his way through a series of terrible jobs. Giles tries to find his place in their lives as they grow up. The gang’s friendship is tested in season four, as they all grow and struggle to find their places in the world. In season five, they all start to gain a bit of footing. Buffy gains a sister, and after the death of her mother is thrust into the responsibility of caring for a minor. Talk about having to grow up.

Adulthood

Seasons six and seven are about coming to terms with adulthood. Season 6 is the darkest season of the show, and it’s my absolute favorite. The “big bad” of the season isn’t really a monster – it’s life. Buffy is struggling with severe depression and trying to keep things together for her sister. She fails more often than not. Willow becomes addicted to the power of witchcraft, because she feels that it’s the only thing she has to offer “if you could be plain old Willow or super Willow, which would you chose?” Xander and Anya’s relationship is on the rocks, because Xander is trying to decide if he really is ready for marriage. He ends up breaking her heart and leaving her at the alter – because he wasn’t ready but didn’t know how to tell her. All of the characters are a complete mess in season six, but that’s what makes it so good. Its gritty and it’s real. The first few years of adulthood are hard, and Buffy doesn’t hold back in portraying that.

Season seven is a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. Buffy overcomes her depression, Xander becomes a foreman at his company and learns to respect his friend’s decisions, and Willow learns to find balance in witchcraft. Many people hate this season because of the focus on the potential slayers, but I think it’s a beautiful end to an amazing series. The hell mouth gets destroyed for good, and Buffy finally has the chance to lead a normal life if she chooses. This season is about being an adult and making adult decisions, and I think it’s amazing.

The love interests

So we talked about some of the overarching themes and cinematography crap that makes shows great; but what really makes shows amazing is some awesome drama concerning love interests. That’s what kept us coming back to Friends, and (gag) Twilight, right? Well Buffy has the most compelling love stories of all time! She fell in love with vampires before it was cool! And I’ll try to be unbiased, but I’m clearly a Spuffy shipper.

Buffy and Spike

Buffy and Angel

The first compelling love story of the series is between Buffy and Angel – the Vampire cursed with a Soul. Angel is the mysterious older man who often comes to Buffy with dire warnings. He’s the epitome of tall, dark and handsome. It’s easy to see why she’s so smitten. Their relationship is full of drama – he’s drawn to her but doesn’t want to date her because of what he is. He lies to her about seeing Drusilla, and basically forces her to admit she loves him (although she specifically states she doesn’t trust him). When he eventually tells her the truth about how horrible he was without a soul, she forgives him and they move forward with their teenage romance.

But loving Angel comes with a deep price. His curse was meant to make him suffer. If he had just one moment of happiness, the curse would be lifted and he would lose his soul. Making love to Buffy was the one moment of happiness that caused him to lose it, and now Buffy is left to deal with one of the most dangerous vampires in history. Her world is turned upside down when she has to kill him in order to save the world. Talk about amazing story telling.

Buffy and Spike

The other amazing love story of the series is between Buffy and another notorious vampire, Spike. Spike is portrayed as a hopeless romantic vampire from his first introduction in season two, where he is shown to be deeply in love with the vampires Drusilla. He’s also a Slayer of Slayers, and hopes to make Buffy his third. Unfortunately for Spike, he falls in love with her instead.

The dynamic between the two characters as the show progresses is amazing. They go from sworn enemies to reluctant allies – to friends and then to lovers, with a lot of drama and heartache in between. They are horrible and abusive to each other in season six, but are able to forgive and trust each other by the end of season seven. Their journey is so real – it’s not a teenage fantasy of what love should be. It’s two adults who made terrible decisions but who both tried to make amends and move past it. The realism of it makes it my favorite relationship in the entire show.

So Yeah, Buffy is the best show ever

Clearly Buffy the Vampire show is my favorite show ever. But I’d love to hear your comments! Do you think Buffy is the greatest show of all time? Why or why not? And if you haven’t seen it yet, I hope I didn’t spoil too much for you – go watch it! And if you love it as much as I do, buy the complete set on DVD at Amazon!

tabula rosa

 

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Holiday shopping season is upon us! Now that Black Friday Weekend is coming to a close, online retailers are stepping up their games and offering amazing sales to entice you to finish your holiday shopping online. Welcome to Cyber Monday! It’s also a great way to support your favorite bloggers!

Cyber Monday and Beyond

After the craziness of Black Friday, don’t you just want to stay home and finish your holiday shopping online? All the online retailers are making that super easy for you, by offering fantastic sales. The best deals can be found on Monday, but great offers can be found throughout the holiday season. Online shopping really is a god send, isn’t it?

Support Bloggers

You might be asking how you can support bloggers during Cyber Monday and beyond, or how the two things even relate. Well that’s an excellent question!

Blogging isn’t free. It costs money to host a website, and it takes a lot of time. Many of us participate in affiliate programs to try to recoup some of those costs. The Amazon affiliate program is one of the most well-known, and one that tons of bloggers participate in.

In order to support bloggers while doing your online Christmas shopping, all you have to do is head to Amazon through your favorite blogger’s Amazon affiliate link. Just click the link and shop like you normally would! It doesn’t even cost you anything extra! How awesome is that? You can support your favorite blog by just shopping like you normally do. And, to make it extra easy, here is a google docs spreadsheet of some of the best small finance blogs! Now you don’t even have to search for bloggers to support! Oh, and if your favorite blog isn’t on the list, let me know and I’ll get them added right away!

I keep this list of bloggers saves as a favorite, and every time I go to Amazon to do some shopping, I pick a different blogger and use their link. It’s so easy!

Want to support bloggers but don’t know what to buy? Check out the 5 best things to buy online!

Other ways to Support Bloggers

I get that online shopping isn’t everyone’s thing. And that’s ok! There are tons of other ways to support bloggers! The best way is to just visit their websites and read their content. Bloggers love getting those sweet sweet page views!

Another great way to support bloggers is by sharing their content on your social media pages. It’s super simple to share a blog post on Facebook and Twitter, or to like a photo on Instagram. You can also support bloggers by simply following their social media accounts. Some bloggers are trying to make ends meet via sponsorship, and the more followers they have on a variety of platforms the better. Facebook is traditionally the hardest social media platform to build (at least it has been for me!), so do your favorite bloggers a favor and like and share their pages. Invite your friends to like their pages. If you love the content, your friends probably will too. (Shameless plug for my Facebook page!)

A final way to support (some) bloggers is to offer donations through Patreon. Not all bloggers have Patreon accounts, but those that do really appreciate any and all donations. I know that Bitches get Riches fully supports their blog with Patreon, and I’m sure that others do as well. If you are in the giving mood, look into whether your favorite blogger has a Patreon and offer them a one-time donation. I know they would really appreciate it!

No Pressure

Clearly you don’t have to do any of these things. As bloggers, we are just super happy that you stopped by! I can’t speak for everyone, but I truly do appreciate each and every person who comes by and gives my simple little blog a read. I’m writing for you. Partners in Fire wouldn’t be a thing without you. I really appreciate all of the support and I wish you all the happiness in the world this holiday season!

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