5 Tools I Can't Live Without

5 Tools I Can't Live Without

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It’s only April and already 2018 has been a year of full of change and transition.  

In the past 389 days my husband and I have:

  1. Sold our home of 20 years and survived moving out without killing each other

  2. Transitioned into temporary housing in two different places before we could ultimately

  3. Moved into our new home on June 2, 2017

  4. Furnish & decorate the new house in Colorado (dirt cheap via estate sales!)

  5. Dave accepts new position on August 15, 2017 - in Florida

  6. Live separately for several months

  7. Took a tenant downstairs

  8. Kicked out the tenant downstairs

  9. Opened an Airbnb part-time

  10. Transitioned the Airbnb into full-time

  11. Packed up the car and drove to Florida with our fur babies, Wilbur & Winston



Most importantly, we became grandparents for the first time.......

It’s only April and already 2018 has been a year of full of change and transition.  Many of the changes were scripted as part of my new life plan.  But there were a couple surprises that were complete curve balls...  

Last year we sold our home of 20 years to move closer to town, and to our first grandchild, Kailani, who was born in January.

We sold our home and moved out in February, but we had to wait to move into our new Colorado home, a mere 12 miles from our old one.


We lived at 9800' for 20 years.

We moved out of our home in February and we were finally able to move into our new Colorado home in early June.

We had to bounce around a couple Airbnb and HomeAway properties to kill time until the tenants’ lease expired.  

We were hardly settled in when my husband Dave mentioned an interesting job opportunity.  By August 15th, Dave had been offered the role.

In Florida.  


My husband is a corporate guy. Me? Not so much.

It was a great opportunity for him and for us - we are quickly approaching retirement.  

It is Dave's first role as a C-level executive, with a leader he respects, a healthy salary and bonus, at a time when the company is thriving and growing.


A mere 2,012 miles from our new Colorado home.

Initially, I stayed in Colorado with our two dogs - Winston, a mastiff mix and Wilbur the pug. Meanwhile, Dave got settled and started at his new position in Florida.  


Winston is such a baby, even at 100 pounds.

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Wilbur, the pug.

We remained in separate states for almost six months, trying to figure out what to do. By then it was clearly a great fit for Dave, so now we needed to find a way to get us all together within the same zip code.  

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We all needed to be together.

We didn’t want to lose the Colorado house - so I figured out how to set it up as an Airbnb and made lemonade out of lemons.

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We didn't want to lose our new home in Colorado.

Turns out, our new Colorado home is perfect for an Airbnb - mountain views, a modern kitchen and it was all furnished and ready to be lived in, so I got it prepared and I listed the whole house on Airbnb.  

Within six months, I went from opening an account with Airbnb to locking up our personal items, hiring a local co-host and driving to Florida with Winston and Wilbur.   

I packed up the truck and we moved to Bev-er-lee.

Hills, that is. Swimming pools and movie stars (cut to Beverly Hillbillies in the moving truck).....

With all this crazy madness in our lives, I have some favorite tools that have helped keep me on track.

Some I have had for decades, others are brand new - but all five of these products have delivered for me.  In a big way.

1. My Favorite Driving Companion

Escort Max 360 Radar Detector

While I do not advocate for excessive speeding or dangerous driving, I do recommend an Escort Radar Detector.  

Dave and I are firm believers of radar detectors, in many ways because we have lived in a zone with a speed trap for more than 20 years. There’s a town you pass through on your way up Highway 285 coming up the canyon whose town budget is padded significantly by all the speeding tickets.

We drove up and down this speed trap on a daily basis.  



Florida is damned far from Colorado!


We have had our radar detector for almost 15 years.

Our Escort has saved us thousands over the years - actually spared me two tickets on the way to Florida.

2. My home exercise equipment

Stamina AeroPilates Reformer

Otherwise known as the Stamina AeroPilates 700 Premier Reformer with Stand, Cardio Rebounder, Neck Pillow and DVDs.



Running is out for me - 2 knee & back surgeries, and a fractured pelvis. No mas.

As part of my new life plan, I committed to getting back in shape.  I now feel so much better and of course, I look a little better too.   ;-)

I first got turned onto Pilates back in 1995 when a studio opened in our small mountain community. Some friends recommended I try it out, so I called to schedule an appointment.


Their price was $150.  AN HOUR!!  

No equipment to take home, just the experience of being taught.  Once.   

And this was in 1995!

Ohhhh, no -- I am way too cheap for that - I can’t think of anything I would pay that much for!  Nothing. Bupkis.  Nada.

I promptly went to the internet and found out what I could about Pilates to see what the hype was all about. This excerpt is from Wikipedia:

Joseph H. Pilates was originally a gymnast and bodybuilder, but when he moved to England in 1912, he earned a living as a professional boxer, a circus-performer, and a self-defense trainer at police schools and Scotland Yard. During World War I the British authorities interned him, along with other German citizens, in Lancaster Castle, where he taught wrestling and self-defense, boasting that his students would emerge stronger than they were before their internment. It was there that he began refining and teaching his minimal equipment system of mat exercises that later became "Contrology". 

Eventually I settled on a home version of the big blocky things that they use in studios.  I paid $150 for the machine and it lasted me over 20 years. I finally upgraded to this model and I love it!! It includes a pull-up bar and a little trampoline which switches out from the footbar.

It’s my favorite little secret - the lazy woman’s way to stay in shape!!  

Talk about a time-saver!! Nothing like walking over to the other bedroom, putting in your 10-30 minutes a day - and calling it DONE! Check! Double check!  I’m working on increasing my fitness level, so I am doing it daily - but only for between 10-30 minutes - that’s it!  

I find free videos to on YouTube, so it never gets boring.  

It’s quick and easy - plus, many professional dancers regularly do Pilates to maintain their long and lean physique.  

Did I mention I only weigh ten pounds more than I did on my wedding day?

Nearly 15 years later.


3. My Favorite New Toy

Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle-board

Atlantis Paddle Boards SUP Inflatable Paddle Board to be exact.  It's an oversized mat meant for two people and yoga.  People even bring their dogs with them.

It comes with everything you need - pump, backpack for carrying, even the paddle and an ankle strap, all for only $499.97.

Hey, did I mention that we moved from Colorado to Florida in March?  I figured I’d better jump right in and find something fun to do --   

Since I’m trying to get back into shape, I figured ta da! Fun and fitness.

A stand-up paddleboard!  I couldn’t be happier with it!


I’ve been getting great workouts in on this baby.

It’s (relatively) light - they say it weighs 35 pounds but right now it feels more like fifty.

Thankfully a friend told us that the inflatable ones were the way to go (thanks, Jill!!) So we shopped around and found this awesome deal on Amazon - everything you need to get started under $500! (Even used inflatable boards were going for more money on Craigslist.)

4. Favorite New Planning System

Bullet Journal

Now, I’m new to this whole bullet journal thing - I’m only about a month into it. But I love it already!

It’s inexpensive way to track all of your projects, lists, goals and outcomes all in one place. I have struggled to fit myself into a “system” that works for me and finally I found it!

I use the Leuchtturm 1917 Medium Size Hardcover A5 Berry Notebook, only $19.95. I also recommend these fine point pens, they don’t bleed or smudge. A pack of 10 costs you $4.95.

Want to check it out? 

Who better to explain his system but Colin Writer, the creator of the Bullet Journal.  

5. My Favorite Way to Clean



Let the robot do it for you!


It's my favorite way to vacuum - let the Roomba do it for you.

I don't to have to lift a finger.   

Okay, I've got to turn it on and empty it out.  Technically you don't even have to turn it on because you can tell Alexa to fire it up for you. 

With two dogs, this machine is a life saver - it picks up dog hair like a champ and even gets under furniture that's hard to vacuum under.  As long as they're cared for, they have lasted me as long as ten years.

That's why it got 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon.  At the current sale price of $249.00, it's a good buy too.

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