Turn your life into a black and white photo

Most of my loyal readers probably know by now that photography is a big part of my life.  Though currently my hobby, it is what I love to do, and my ability to capture nature’s beauty is enabled by how my perspective on everyday life has changed over the years.  Today, I can see beauty in nearly everything.

The Grand Canyon in northern Arizona on a frigid December day.

Recently, I made the decision to switch over to black and white for the majority of my photography.  I have always loved black and white.  It probably all started back in high school when I setup my own darkroom in our basement to develop film and print my own photos.  The process was amazing to learn, and I can still immediately recognize the smell of those chemicals to this very day. Continue reading “Turn your life into a black and white photo”

Our amazing world: Last night’s halo

Allow me a moment to divert completely away from the topic of financial independence a minute and talk about what an amazing natural world that we live in.  Last night, one of our dogs – that RARELY barks unless something is truly wrong – started barking by the back door.  Naturally, my wife and I responded, but there seemed to be nothing there.

Last night's halo around the moonI went out into the backyard with my dog to check things out – again, nothing.  I suppose it was a false alarm.  But, just as I was about to call it a night and return to our comfy couch, I looked up and saw something amazing.  It was one of the biggest, brightest and beautiful halos around the moon that I’ve ever had the privilege of witnessing.

Of course, the photography side of me quickly kicked in and I ran inside to grab my Nikon digital camera, a wide-angle lens and a tripod.  I started shooting 30-second exposures and literally hoped for the best.  Even in the pitch black (minus a few ground lights here and there), it is amazing the detail that can be picked out of the darkness with long exposures. Continue reading “Our amazing world: Last night’s halo”

10 questions with 1500days.com

Hey guys!  I recently had the opportunity to chat with 1500days about this blog and my financial independence and early retirement goals that I plan on achieving in the [very] near future. 1500days.com is one of my favorite blogs to read – always makes me think.  I enjoy the occasional think. Take a look: http://www.1500days.com/10-questions-with-steve-from-thinksaveretire-com. Continue reading 10 questions with 1500days.com

The Friday Feast ~ the 27th of March

I love learning. Always have. So when I find a blog or writer that interests me I devour everything I can find. Every day I move countless amazing articles from an array of  frugal, simple living, FI-minded writers into my Amazing Reads folder to be read at my leisure. These articles inspire me and the Mr. to think about things in different ways, to keep open minds and to constantly keep learning so we can be the best possible us.

In this episode of Friday Feast: Simple Organized Life,  Suburban Finance, 20 Something Finance, Early Retirement Guy, Done by Forty, Mr. Everyday Dollar, Frugaling.

readingHere are my picks for this week’s Feast. I hope they inspire you to set financial goals and take control over your heart, mind and – yes, your pocketbook.  There is a fire lit within each and every one of us, and the sooner we find that flame, the quicker we can use it for the energy we need to master our own happiness. Continue reading “The Friday Feast ~ the 27th of March”

Lookie there! Apply intermittent fasting techniques to your spending habits

Welcome to the very first installment of “Lookie There!”, a series of posts that are designed to highlight interesting, thought-provoking or downright weird financial news or opinions from others bloggers on the Internet.  The idea is to find the most interesting content out there and talk about it – right here.

Pointing fingerToday’s topic is courtesy of Travis Pizel from Enemy of Debt, and he wrote about applying the principles of intermittent fasting, which is a dieting (read: “lifestyle”) technique where food is only consumed within an 8-hour window of time each day, to your spending habits. Continue reading “Lookie there! Apply intermittent fasting techniques to your spending habits”

It’s springtime, baby!

After a long, cold winter where daytime high temperatures routinely dipped into the high 60s and lower 70s, it is finally springtime once again in southern Arizona.  And true to form, we Arizonans persevered through it all – the biting cold, frosted windshields and 6-foot high drifts of grimy snow.  Oh, wait…

Our orange tree is in bloom!
Our orange tree is in bloom!

Okay, so there were nights where we had an extra blanket on the bed, and the bitter cold in the frigid 60-degree air at times required the use of a wind breaker during the day.  But I tell you, my wife and I got through it, and we learned a lot about ourselves during this time of pain and anguish.  We’re total DINKWADs.

It is this kind of winter stress and torture that separates the men from the boys.

But no, seriously – springtime in southern Arizona means that 100-degree temperatures are right around the corner.  In fact, the forecasted high temperatures this week are flirting with the 90 mark already.

No bother.  I’m a sunny skies and warm weather kind of person, so Arizona has been a wonderful state in which to call home.  This morning our sliding back door has been open, allowing the pleasantly cool springtime air to fill our home, and lets our two dogs roam the backyard at their leisure. Continue reading “It’s springtime, baby!”

The Friday Feast ~ the 20th of March

I love learning. Always have. So when I find a blog or writer that interests me I devour everything I can find. Every day I move countless amazing articles from an array of  frugal, simple living, FI-minded writers into my Amazing Reads folder to be read at my leisure. These articles inspire me and the Mr. to think about things in different ways, to keep open minds and to constantly keep learning so we can be the best possible us.

In this episode of Friday Feast: Simple Organized Life, the Frugalwoods, Penniless Parenting, Business Insider, Engineer Cents, Life and Finances, Frugaling, and Nerd Fitness.

readingHere are my picks for this week’s Feast. I hope they inspire you to set financial goals and take control over your heart, mind and – yes, your pocketbook.  There is a fire lit within each and every one of us, and the sooner we find that flame, the quicker we can use it for the energy we need to master our own happiness. Continue reading “The Friday Feast ~ the 20th of March”

Runaway credit destroying American retirement

It is no secret that the spending habits of traditional Americans are not all that pretty.  Way too many Americans find themselves in a position where retirement seems like a lofty goal only accessible by either the old or lucky, and that most people – including them – are “regular Americans” just trying to get by in a harsh and unforgiving economy.

Click for full version
Click for full version

Sadly, this poisonous thinking keeps way too many Americans accepting their 40 to 50-year jail office sentence.  But in truth, the only elements of spending and saving that are harsh and unforgiving are the things that Americans insist on blowing their money on – or in other words, discretionary spending.

In 2009, Americans spent a whopping $1.13 trillion on this type of spending.  First world problems, anyone?

A recent ConsumerReports.com study offers up a sad graphic that depicts American foolishness with money quite well.  How are Americans actually spending their money?  Good question, and I’m glad that you asked. Continue reading “Runaway credit destroying American retirement”

Five gems that I wish I knew in college

The learning never stops – well, perhaps I should say that the learning should never stop.  I like to think that every year I am a little wiser than the previous, and that I am better prepared to confront the world and my life with the newly-found knowledge of the previous year.

College TextbooksToday, I sit here as a 33-year old stooge who wants to retire by 40, thinking back to my college days and how far that I’ve come.  I’m preparing to retire by 40, and holy shit, this is actually going to happen!  Of course in college, early retirement was the last thing on my mind.  But now, I can’t get it out of my mind.

Actually, I kinda want it to stick around up there in the ol’ noggin.  It keeps me focused.  Please don’t leave, thoughts of early retirement.  Please don’t.  I like you. Continue reading “Five gems that I wish I knew in college”

The Friday Feast ~ the 13th of March

I love learning. Always have. So when I find a blog or writer that interests me I devour everything I can find. Every day I move countless amazing articles from an array of  frugal, simple living, FI-minded writers into my Amazing Reads folder to be read at my leisure. These articles inspire me and the Mr. to think about things in different ways, to keep open minds and to constantly keep learning so we can be the best possible us.

In this episode of Friday Feast: Debt Discipline, Becoming Minimalist, One Cent at a Time, Suburban Finance, Blonde on a Budget, Enemy of Debt, Choosing Voluntary Simplicity.

Continue reading “The Friday Feast ~ the 13th of March”