Summer So Far & Liebster Part 2

Summer has been good to me so far! On Monday, the BF and I went to our friends’ house and had some pizza, good red wine, and played a couple of games of Settlers of Catan in their backyard. We also roasted some marshmallows over their fire pit and made ourselves some s’mores. There’s nothing like being able to chill outside on a nice summer night with some good friends (and some friendly competition).

I must say, however, the weather here in the Bay Area has been on an ugly streak lately. It’s muggy and humid and there’s just way too many clouds for my liking. Plus, in the morning when I’m on the way to work, it’s slightly raining. This weather is so confusing!

It’s a good thing I’m off to sunny San Diego this weekend! My friends and I wanted to make it to Comic Con, but we couldn’t score tickets (#noobz). Instead of completely giving up on the trip, we decided to just go down to SD anyways since there are a ton of things to do outside of Comic Con. Seriously – there’s even an outsidecomiccon.com. Also, there’s Legoland! Can’t wait for this little vacation with my friends. I’ll do a full trip recap complete with expense breakdowns *yay* when I return :)

But before I leave for SD, I’ll be meeting with my lovely designer friend Rem. I’m sure you’ve noticed the changes that have been happening over here on LvL (unless you’re reading in an RSS reader). Rem has been making some gradual design changes over here on the blog and I must say I am loving it! I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the direction of this blog, so I feel like this site redesign is exactly what this blog needs as I start to shift gears a little bit.

As I’m shifting this blog into a more personal space, with financial updates and tips of course, I thought it was such perfect timing that I was nominated for another Liebster Award from The Spunky Banker! I’ve already been nominated before by my girl Anna almost a year ago, but I still thought it would be fun to answer these questions, as well! Here are The Spunky Banker’s questions:

1. Why did you start your blog?

As long as I can remember, I’ve always had an online journal/blog. Xanga, Tumblr, you name it. But the reason I started this blog in particular was to chronicle my journey out of student loan debt. Not only did I want to keep myself accountable, but I also felt like I needed to share my story. In my opinion, student loans get such a bad rap. But I really believe that 1) my loans really helped me and 2) I can still enjoy life while paying back my loans.

2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Hopefully, in 5 years, I’ll be debt free! Not including my mortgage of course :) By then, I hope to be working on numerous passive income ideas. I’m not sure which routes I want to take, but I do want to dip my toes in real estate, monetizing my blog, and maybe even starting a YouTube channel or podcast about money/lifestyle!

3. If you didn’t blog about money, what would you blog about?

If I didn’t blog about money, I’d probably blog about my everyday thoughts and events, which is what I’m actually trying to start doing more of on this blog!

4. If you could meet anyone in the world, who would you meet and why?

Wow, this is a tough one… I think I would have to choose Zachary Levi. I was a huge fan of his ever since he was on Chuck the TV show. I’m hoping I’ll get to cross paths with him this weekend in SD since Nerd HQ will be there outside of Comic Con (he’s the founder of The Nerd Machine). I’ll keep y’all posted!

5. Describe yourself in 3 words.

Awkward as hell. Hahaha :)

Well that’s it from me this week, folks! The rest of this week will be dedicated to packing (haha yeah right) and overall just getting ready for the drive down. Follow me on Instagram if you want to see what I’m up to at Outside Comic Con and tweet at me if you’re down there, too!

AMDG,
Lisa

Links Lisa Likes – Super Hero Weekend

This past Saturday, a couple of my good friends celebrated their son’s 1st birthday! The birthday party was super hero themed, which was a lot of fun!

Batman and Robin!

Batman and Robin!

A lot of my friends (the BF included) are huge superhero fans, so we pretty much went all out with our costumes… haha. I don’t know if you can tell from the picture, but my shirt had a detachable cape :) There was also a ton of comic-inspired decorations (think POW, CRASH, BOOM signs everywhere), including a huge Batman balloon ready to attack us at any minute.

Then on Sunday, to continue the “hero” theme, the BF and I stopped by the Toms Warehouse sale. I always loved the Toms brand because of their One for One model where, whenever someone purchases a pair of shoes from them, they donate a pair to children in need.

Buying from companies like Toms is my way of conscious spending – not only am I buying shoes, I’m also giving shoes to those who don’t have the means to purchase a pair for themselves. Plus, since it was a warehouse sale, all of their shoes were discounted at least 50% off – some up to 70%!

#tomswarehousesale

#tomswarehousesale

Unfortunately, we went on the last day of the sale, so the selection wasn’t too wide. But now that I know this sale comes around once a year, I’m making sure I’m going prepared next time – we’ll be there early and hopefully make it to the first or second day!

Last Week on LvL

Last week, I shared some exciting news on my last update Links Lisa Likes – I’m Going to be a Bridesmaid.

I shared my own personal experience with IRS scams over at BEWARE – San Francisco IRS Telephone Scam.

I’ve got a lot of traveling coming up, but I keep fitness a priority! How do you Stay Fit While Traveling?

This Week’s LLL

Being Happy With Less – [Journey to Saving]
Most of the time, it’s the simple things that bring us joy; not the expensive, over-the-top purchases we tend to make.

How to Over Come Limiting Beliefs – [VOSA]
My girl Melanie from Dear Debt is absolutely right – sometimes, you’ve got to fake it ’til you make it!

Newsflash: Giving Up Will NOT Help You Find a Job - [Club Thrifty]
Holly keeps it real. YES the job hunt sucks and jobs out there aren’t ideal, but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. Suck it up and stop complaining.

Should You Donate Money When You Are in Debt? - [Young Adult Money]
As always, giving is such a personal decision and there are many reasons why you should/shouldn’t when in debt.

To Get Ahead, Get Started – [Impersonal Finance]
Get started by dividing your goal into small, achievable steps.

Hope y’all are having a wonderful start to your week!

AMDG,
Lisa

Stay Fit While Traveling

As I was looking at the upcoming months, I can’t help but notice all the traveling I’ll be doing this year – San Diego in July, New Orleans in September, and (hopefully) Los Angeles in December! Geez, I feel like I’m still recovering from my birthday trip to Las Vegas this past April! ;)

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Mimosas for breakfast, anyone?

Whenever I travel, eating good food wherever I go is high on the priority list! Literally, my travel itineraries always revolve around meal times and what restaurants I want to try. Because of my tendency to not hold back when it comes to eating while I’m traveling, I make it a point to fit in some exercise on my trips, as well!

Now, although my monthly Lisa vs. the Lbs. updates are on an indefinite hiatus, I am still actively trying to get healthy. Thanks to my new job’s awesome benefits, I have a completely free membership to the Club One near my office. I take complete advantage of this and I go to the gym some time during my work day 3-5 times a week.

But with all this travel coming up, you may think I’ll be missing out on some valuable workout days. And to that I say – you’re wrong!

There are plenty of ways to get fit while travelling. Let’s take Las Vegas for example. My last trip to Las Vegas was a blast and I’m already planning another trip to go back next year! If you’ve never been to Vegas, or even if you have, you probably think that all people do there is drink, party, and gamble. How in the hell is someone supposed to stay fit over there? Well, it isn’t impossible. Here are a couple of suggestions.

Hotel Gyms

Hotel gyms have come a long way from a small, cramped room with one treadmill and a few dumbbells. In fact, some hotel gyms are much better than any regular gyms you may go to! The health spas/gyms in Las Vegas are no exception! In April, I stayed at The Venetian, which gave us free access to the fitness center at the Canyon Ranch Spa Club. This gym was by far the nicest gym I’ve ever been to! Not only were there tons of ellipticals, bikes, and treadmills, but there were also a wide selection of new strength training equipment, plenty of dumbbells for everyone, and even a few fancy sets of kettlebells – which is my workout tool of choice. Of course, there was tons of room to stretch, do yoga, foam roll, or even chill at the smoothie bar. Plus, there was a rock climbing wall in the gym!

Body Weight Workouts

If your hotel doesn’t have a gym, or you don’t want to make the trek all the way over there, consider doing a simple body weight workout in your hotel room. Push ups, squats, lunges, and burpees are a great way to work up a sweat without a gym!

I also like to use the free mobile app Sworkit. I’ve mentioned this app before in my Frugal Fitness post. Basically, you choose what kind of workout you want to do that day, from yoga, cardio, or strength. Then you choose how long you want to workout. Once you’ve chose what kind of workout you want to have, Sworkit will generate a random circuit based on your preferences and all you do is follow what the app tells you to do! It’s super easy to use, and you don’t need any equipment.

Indoor Hike at Aria

The Aria at CityCenter is a gorgeous hotel right on the Strip. I personally haven’t stayed there yet, but I am definitely considering it for my next trip to Las Vegas. Anyways, there is an Indoor Hotel Hike at the Aria – escalators are off limits! This indoor hotel hike is designed to work the same muscles as you would on a regular hike outdoors. You’ll start off at the Spa at Aria and your hike instructor will lead you through the different art installations, restaurants, stores, and even the Crystals shopping center during this 60 minute exercise. This indoor hotel hike sounds like a blast and I look forward to trying it out the next time I’m in Las Vegas!

How do you stay fit while traveling?

AMDG,
Lisa

BEWARE – San Francisco IRS Telephone Scam

Last Thursday was another busy day in the office. I was going about my day as normal when I received a phone call from a number I didn’t recognize.

Now, usually in these cases, I don’t answer when I don’t know who it is. But seeing as the area code was 415 (San Francisco area code), I figured it might have been someone I knew who changed their number, or a business I frequent often calling to tell me I left something behind (you guys have no idea how often this happens to me).

So I answered. Instead of a familiar voice on the other side, I heard a recording. I wish I had remembered exactly what the voice was saying, but here’s the gist: the IRS was looking for me. The voice told me to call back immediately or they will take legal action against me.

Needless to say, I was freaking out! I immediately began to wonder if I did my taxes wrong or something. This was the first year I didn’t go to an actual tax preparer and instead filed online using H&R Block…

Before I called, however, I decided to Google the number. Here’s the number for all of you in the  SF Bay Area: 1.415.251.5170

My Google search for the number lead to this site: http://800notes.com/Phone.aspx/1-415-251-5170

All I can say is – thank God I searched for this number before calling them back. It turns out this whole thing is a known IRS telephone scam. If you go to the link above, you’ll see a ton of testimonies from people with the same exact experience, and some even worse than my own! For example, one caller claims that when he called the number back, the person on the other end told him that he would be audited for tax papers filed 7 years ago! Yet another caller claims that he was told that he has two hours to contact an attorney before the police show up to arrest him!

Don’t fall for this IRS telephone scam! The IRS knows of these scams and has written about what to look for and what to do if you’ve been targeted in their news release dated April 14, 2014 entitled IRS Reiterates Warning of Pervasive Telephone Scam.

IRS Telephone Scam: What Do You Do If You’re Called

The IRS is aware of this scam and many others. Here is what they suggest to do in these situations:

If you think you owe taxes:

Do not call that number back and do not avoid it. Instead, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040 and a real IRS employee will help you out with any payment troubles.

If you don’t think you owe taxes:

If you haven’t received anything in the mail regarding you owing taxes, call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1.800.366.4484.

Also, it’s a good idea to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” over at FTC.org and make sure to note that it’s an “IRS Telephone Scam”.

Be aware and be safe with your personal information, everyone!

Have you ever been targeted by this kind of scam? How did you deal with it?

AMDG,
Lisa

Links Lisa Likes – I’m Going to be a Bridesmaid

A few weeks ago, one of my oldest friends from elementary school texted me some amazing news: she got engaged!

Naturally, I was ecstatic that 1) she was engaged and 2) I was one of the first people she told. Excuse me while I go and wipe my tears.

Anywho, I had dinner with her on Thursday night. As we were catching up about work, family, and all of that, she asked if I would be one of her bridesmaids! Of course I said yes! #brbcrying

I would totally put a picture up of the two of us right now, but her and her boyfriend fiance haven’t exactly made it public, and I know a bunch of my friends know about this blog, so I don’t want to be the one to leak the info, at least not on here. And yes that was one long run on sentence but who cares because I’m excited!!!

So, instead of a picture of her/us, here’s a picture of a pillow that perfectly describes how I’m feeling right now:

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Last Week on LvL

Lately, I haven’t been posting much here. Sorry, not sorry.

June 2013 was my best month yet! I’m talking about my net worth, of course :)

This Week’s LLL

How I Save 85% of My Income – [First Quarter Finance]
I just recently discovered this guy and he is absolutely KILLING IT in the savings department!

A Penny Saved is More Than a Penny Earned – [Done by Forty]
In the ongoing debate of increasing income vs. decreasing expenses, the latter has the advantage.

Summer Holiday Wardrobe Essentials (Frugal Edition) – [The Frugal Model]
Sundresses are my favorite part of summer #truestory

Want More Time? Stop Buying So Much Stuff! – [Bible Money Matters]
So eye-opening! As consumers, we always find a way to spend, most often by telling ourselves that our wants are really our needs.

The Year I Plan to Embrace Minimalism – [Blonde on a Budget]
As someone who loves the idea of minimalism, but doesn’t have the guts (yet) to fully embrace it, I’m looking forward to reading about Cait’s journey!

Have any of you been a bridesmaid or a groomsman?

AMDG,
Lisa
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