Monday, February 20, 2017

Weekend Highlights : I can't believe it's February

I hope with all of my being y'all got some weather as good as we did this weekend. Saturday AND Sunday brought 60+ degree temperatures and sunshine! So I made plans to get outside soak up as much vitamin D as I could, in case we really do get 6 more weeks of winter.

On weekends where I have a lot of pictures to share, I kind of love using hashtags, otherwise I can get a little wordy and then we'll be here all day, and ain't nobody got time for that.

Quick unrelated rant? Mr. Sass got a text, literally as I sat down to write this, that the Best Man for a wedding he is in wants them to go to Vegas for a 4 day weekend. The best man claims flights are only $130, which while that doesn't sound bad, add in hotels, meals, activities and possibly paying for the groom himself and you have a seriously pricey bachelor weekend. When did this become the trend? I feel like asking folks to potentially take 4 days off of work plus spend $300+ is too much. Am I crazy? Do you agree? Makes it hard too if everyone else is doing it & you have to be the one that can't afford it, or can't get the time off. Not everyone works a nice little 9-5 M-F schedule.

Phew. Okay, now that that's out of my system, on to some weekend highlights, hashtag style.

#ChocolateChipZucchiniMuffins #OhYeahIAddedCarrotToo #GettinCrazyOnAFridayNight #AlreadyAlmostGone

#EightMiles #ShouldHaveWornShorts #FinallySomeSunshine

#EmeraldViewPark #DoILookSporty #TestingOutSomeNewHikingShoes

#ButWaitItGetsBetter #Pittsburgh #CityOfBridges #LoveThisCity #ThreeRivers

#WantedToTryANakedChickenChalupa #TheyWereOut #IWasSad

#RoastingVeggiesOnASaturdayNight #IAmTooCool

#McConnellsMillStatePark #JustGettinStarted #SundayFunday

 #UnmarkedTrail #WereRebels

#NopeDefinitelyNotARealTrail #WeMadeItWork


 #SportySpice #PhotoShoot #MrSassLovesBeingMyPhotographer


#SassUncut #SassBehindTheScenes #ProbablyGonnaHaveASockTan

 I'm sad it's Monday again already, but my nice little weather app claims the sunshine and warm temps are going to stick around for the week, so here's hoping for some more vitamin D.

How was your weather this weekend?
Crazy big trip for a bachelor party - yay, nay?
What was the best part of your weekend?

Linking up with :Holly & Tricia for Weekend Highlights

Friday, February 17, 2017

Friday Five #59

Happy Friday friends! We made it!

This weekend is sort of the calm before the storm so to speak. No big plans - but next weekend I'll run a race & make a quick weekend surprise trip, the following weekend I have a girls getaway planned, followed the few weekends after that by bridal shower #1, my birthday, bridal shower #2, bachelorette shenanigans, Easter, HM#1, HM#2 & then our wedding! Which seems like it's far away when you say 86 days or whatever, but not so far away when you figure every weekend will FLY BY.

Also - RAGNAR! Heard of it? No? It's a 200-ish mile relay race. 12 runners, 2 mini-vans & 200-ish miles to run in about 36 hours. I'm putting together a team along with Ciara & we still need 4 runners! This specific Ragnar is Ragnar PA & runs from Lancaster to Mt. Pocono, June 2-3, 2017. If you think you may even be the least bit interested in joining us, email me {theacquiredsass AT}& we can chat details, how it works, money, anything you want to know. If you just want to read more - check out my recap posts.

Ragnar DC, Leg 1 - Recap, Leg 2 - Recap, do I still need to post my 3rd recap post, from all the way back in September? Maybe. Maybe not. Haha.

Either way - you can be sure you'll see this pop up a time or two more until our team is filled just in case any of you bloggy friends want to come join in on the fun!

Now on to some Friday Five!

one // Can I profess my love for online RSVPs? Yes? Because it's my blog & I do what I want?! Yes! We have all but 2 wedding invites officially in the mail! And within a few days of mailing them, we've had over 30 people RSVP. We're doing it all online, to save $ and time - and so far, it's working wonderfully. The Knot sends us an email to let me know who has RSVP'd & whether they accepted or declined - plus I can see it all on our website! LOVE IT!

two // Pizza. Mmm. Pizza. A co-worker and I headed out to lunch on Thursday - and we headed to Blaze Pizza. I've definitely professed my love for Blaze on some past Friday Five posts. I topped it with a little bit of pretty much everything & it was so good.

three // Half marathon training has officially started! Just in time for there to be gross weather oh Wednesday for my speed workout. -__- I STRONGLY considered bagging it & trying to do it Thursday morning, or Thursday after work. But I figured this first week would set the tone for my whole training cycle - and I may as well start it off on a high note. So, I laced up & went out. And  seriously, the weather sucked. But my paces did not. Which I'm hoping is a sign of fast miles to come. :)

four // More food talk. Valentine's Day dinner - Mr. Sass cooked venison filets, scallops (with homemade butter that we made from cream) + Parmesan roasted broccoli. And then we topped it all off with some bubbly & a trip to Graeter's. Graeter's is a Cincinnati ice cream chain that finally opened a store north of Pittsburgh. They were featured as one of Oprah's favorite things - so you know it's good. My sweet Momma sent me a gift card as a Valentine's treat once she found out one had opened nearby.

five // Funnies...

 Yeah - that's a hard pass. Set that plate right on down & move along sir. I SAID MOVE ALONG.

 And me, 100% when I'm grumpy with Mr. Sass but quite haven't figured out exactly why, or what I want to do about it.

What are you up to this weekend?
Who has run Ragnar before?
How did you celebrate Valentine's Day?

linking up with Heather, Amanda, AndreaTifDella & Katie

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Budgeting 101 : Sass Family Money Goals

I talked last week about how Mr. Sass & I are diving in to the world of joint finances, and while we're not officially joined yet, we know we will be soon and it's important to us to have a plan, a budget, and a set of goals.

Some of these goals are long term - with a completion date set to align with retirement, others, we've broken down to be more short term.

Make a budget | Self explanitory here, we want to lay out reasonable money expectations for the 2nd half of 2017, and our first 7 months as a married couple. We figure those first 7 months will be a test run of sorts and we can follow it up by tweaking out 2018 budget. I'll be following up with another Cash Confessional once we're officially married.

Pay off the house (in 24 months) | The house we're living in now is small. And it's not the house we hope to raise a family in someday. It's just fine for now though. Since it's literally the only debt that exists between the two of us we want to focus on paying it off. We're not sure if it's something we'd want to keep as a rental or sell off and enjoy not having to use the sale money to pay off the loan, but either way, we plan to pay it off - and quickly. I'll talk more about this if anyone is interested - is anyone interested? But, we plan to devote one whole salary for two years to accomplish this. We have to toss the numbers into our official budget spreadsheet, but we're 99% sure this will be NBD.

Save one salary for a new house | While we plan to spend 24 months & one whole salary paying off the current house, realistically we think we'll be moving within 5 years. After this house is paid, we want to keep saving hardcore for the down payment on our Forever Home.Our unofficial plan is to start looking at houses this summer, and planning to strike if anything that meets most of the checklist comes up, regardless of if that's in 2 years or 5 years. But, considering we want land, a big kitchen, front porch, room to build an additional work shed // garage, attached 2 car garage, nice flat backyard and all within a small specific area that's not far from where we are now, and all for a fair price, I'm not concerned we'll accidentally stumble upon our dream house soon (or ever).

Reach $1M net worth | There's literally no reason for this goal, other than it means we're making progress towards retirement. And it sounds cool as hell to be worth a million dollars. Even if you take all our cash, retirement savings, stock market funds and the value of the house, we're a ways off. But I have a feeling this will snowball quickly if we keep plugging away at it.

Save $3M for retirement | Have you heard of the 4% rule? It's the thought that you're safe to pull 4% of your nest egg each year, and that it will continue to sustain you as it will be growing at a rate higher than 4% each year - and growing enough to sustain inflation also. So, by that rule of thumb, $3M would give the Sass family $120K each year to live off of in retirement. Which, right now sounds exorbitant. It's way more than we spend right now. I'm not even sure what we would do with it all. While this number is half researched & half pulled out of our asses, we want to be cognizant that $120K may not buy nearly as much in 30 years or 50 years as it does now, and that we don't want to be restricted when it comes to travel budgets. So, $3M is the goal, and I have a feeling this is a goal we'll come back to and tweak as needed over the years.

What are some of your money goals?

Linking with Amanda.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Weekend Highlights : Run, eat, repeat

I talked on Friday about how all of our weekend plans were turning out to be a wash. Well, I'm happy to report Mr. Sass and I had quite an enjoyable weekend - even if things didn't go according to plan.

Friday ended up being a sick day for me. When I woke up to go to the gym I felt awful, so I turned off my alarm and kept on sleeping. But when I woke up to get ready for work, I still felt terrible, and even moreso was worried about spreading the germs through the office. Nobody likes someone sneezing everywhere. Luckily my job allows me to work from home. While it's one of my least favorite things to do, I figured it was for the best.

We had a low key evening, complete with enchilada soup, a few episodes of Blue Bloods, and an early bedtime. We had pre-cana (mandatory pre-marital counseling) on Saturday from 830 - 430 PM and I was determined to run a few miles beforehand. I knew I wouldn't be able to stand sitting around all day.

So, at 6AM on Saturday I dragged my butt out of bed and headed to nearby North Park to get in 5 miles on the paved "Lake Loop" - I finished in plenty of time to head home, shower, and scarf some coffee and hard boiled eggs before heading to class.

While Mr. Sass & I agreed the day was not a wash, and that we definitely learned things, neither of us does well sitting around for 8 hours at a time. We were beyond antsy by the end of the day. And a little disgruntled that the one day Pittsburgh decides to be 55 and sunny we spent inside. He suggested we go for a run, and despite my 5 morning miles, I'll never turn that man down when he asks to run with me. We hurried to change our clothes & headed back to North Park, for another 5 miles on the Lake Loop. 5 miles with the sunrise and 5 miles with the sunset.

We hustled to shower, get dressed and shovel down some dinner before meeting our friends at Draai Laag - another new to us brewery. We stayed for a beer or two before heading on to nearby Grist House, another new to us brewery. Both had great outdoor space, and I can't wait to head back in warmer weather & snag a table outside.

Grist House closed at 10PM, which we thought was a typo until the bartender started yelling "LAST CALLLLLL" around 945PM. We knew our time was limited. A few other friends were headed out to join us, so we made a third and final stop for the night at Sidelines where after one more beer and a basket of wings it was time for bed.

Sunday morning called for scones. The weather was pretty blah and Mr. Sass has been pointing out that all of the baked goods I create seem to be destined for my office and never for his belly, and he was right. I picked up some strawberries to make an adaptation of Budget Bytes White Chocolate Scones. I used fresh strawberries & semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of white chocolate.

I had never so much as attempted scones before, but they turned out great and would be super easy to adapt with your fruit // chocolate of choice. Mr. Sass gave two thumbs up, especially since all 8 scones were staying in the Sass house. I made a simple vanilla "icing" to drizzle on top, but most of them didn't last long enough to get drizzled.

Then we went hard creating a chore chart (okay, so that was all Mr. Sass because I really don't give a shit and really don't notice dirt until something is filthy), finished addressing wedding invites, and meal prepping for the week. All before it was time for dinner with friends at new-to-us brewery #3 of the weekend, Spoonwood Brewing.

In general I thought the food was meh, but the beer was good, and they had local wine and cider on draft as well, which is always a plus in my book, as a former non-beer drinker.

Half marathon training starts today! Which, while it seems like I've been waiting for this forever, I don't know why it finally snuck up on me while I'm still getting over a cold. Still playing around with how I'll recap my training each week, sneak it into my weekly recaps, or have an entire training recap post. Let me know if you feel strongly about one or the other...

How was your weekend?
What's the best piece of marriage // relationship advice you've ever received?
What's the worst piece of relationship advice you've ever received?

Linking up with :Holly & Tricia for Weekend Highlights

Friday, February 10, 2017

Friday Five #58

The original intro to this post was going to tell you all about the exciting plans we had this weekend - engagement picture attempt round two, hiking + ice skating. And, instead, that's now all been canceled since it's supposed to be low 50's and raining all weekend, after a beautiful few inches of snow Wednesday night. Can a girl not get some snow on a Saturday night for a winter wonderland-esqe engagement shoot!? Come on Mother Nature, work with me!

I missed my regular Weekend Highlights post which bummed me out, so I'm including some highlights here. :)

Hope you'll share what you're up to this weekend - I hope the weather won't spoil your plans.

one // Jumping all the way back to last weekend - Mr. Sass and I hiked 5 different hikes, at 5 different parks // places - all of them being new. That pretty much never happens. We found a new-to-us trail at North Park...and poked around this abandoned picnic shelter...

...and did a short loop around Potter Park on Saturday....

Then hiked parts of Todd Nature Reserve...

...the Baker Trail...

...and Harrison Hills Park on Sunday!

two // We worked up some serious "hiker hunger" so we inhaled this giant pretzel while we waited for our friends to join us for dinner. You'll see my normal sized hand and post-hike sausage fingers for reference.

three // I'm starting my HM training plan next week - so I did a modified speed workout Tuesday after work to soak up some 50+ degree temps & also get a feel for how my week may flow with my new plan. The weather was on a downhill slope though, so by the end of my run it was raining and super windy. As illustrated by my hair scarf.

four // Mr. Sass and I celebrated Valentine's Day Wednesday night. We headed out to a fancy dinner, and ooh man was it good. But pricey! Our waitress let us on in a little secret though, their bar specials are bangin' so we just may be back for happy hour. Of course, in our crab cake induced coma we didn't manage to take a single picture. Sass fail.

five // And finally a few funnies to round it out...

What are you up to this weekend?
What was the last new place you explored?
Mustard or cheese for your soft pretzel?
I prefer beer cheese, but I'll take spicy mustard if I have to.

linking up with Heather, Amanda, AndreaTifDella & Katie

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Budgeting 101 : Managing Money as a Couple

Hi! I feel like it's been forever since we talked. I had every intention of being here on Monday to share all about my weekend, I actually did a lot! But, after getting home late Sunday night from a full day of life, hopping on the computer was not anywhere on my to-do list. And the thought of rushing a post Monday morning just to put something up seemed disingenuous. So, sorry, real life got in the way of the Internet.

If you've been around for a while you know I've written a few budgeting posts, and am no stranger to the world of managing my own money. I make smart choices (mostly) that are leading me in the direction I want to go, which is eventually, early retirement and a retirement filled with travel. So, even though I'm 26 I'm making moves to set myself up for that. And, in a weird, twisted, sense of the word, it's actually kind of fun.

But, what happens when you bring another person into the mix? Now you're morphing two sets of goals into one, hopefully shared vision, and trying to make it happen. But, double the money, double the trouble. There may be more money between the two of you now, but there are also two people who could make a choice to spend it.

Mr. Sass makes fun of me for being the cheapest mofo ever. While I don't exactly deny the accusation, I prefer to think of myself as selectively frugal. It's like selective hearing, but with my money spending habits. A trip to Africa + safari? I'll gladly drop $10K. Paying $40 to check a bag on a domestic flight? No thank you, you best believe I'll jut shove everything I need in my carry-on.

We're under 100 days until Mr. Sass & I officially tie the knot, and I know, because every time I go to our wedding website, we're reminded. They also send out emails to remind us of all the shit we haven't done yet, but need to. Gee thanks, The Knot.

One thing I haven't seen on any Knot to-do lists though? Make a budget. No, not for the wedding, for your lives. I've talked before about the 6 steps to start making a budget, but this is more than that. You're combining budgets. While some budget categories may truly double, like the amount you spend on gas will probably not change once you're married, however, the amount you spend on groceries or housing may. While you may have been able to push off saving money, you can't anymore. Do you want to buy a house someday? Or take a vacation together? Better start saving!

We've been super honest about money from the start, and it's far from a taboo subject between the two of us. I know exactly what Mr. Sass makes, what he spends it on, what he's got in savings, and what he still owes on the house (which will soon be what we owe on the house, just as soon as we're officially married.). He knows the same about me - and I view that knowledge with a sense of pride.

Not only have we shared the nitty gritty details of our finances, but also our financial goals. It's no secret that we both would love to retire early, mid-50's or earlier, and not have to worry about how we'll fund the rest of our lives. We want retirement to be filled with travel, and since by no means are we cut out to sit around all day, I imagine we'll find some sort of side hustle that may make money, but mostly keeps us out of trouble.

While I think we manage our money well as individuals, and we've talked about how we'll manage it as a couple, we haven't exactly begun executing our plan yet. We haven't officially made our budget yet, but it's on our to-do list.

As I navigate through this new budgeting world for the first time, I figured I would post as we go, outline our financial goals as a couple - which we've broken down in to a 5 year plan of sorts. How we'll budget for the first year, hopefully Mr. Sass won't mind me sharing real numbers, but I respect that it's now both of our money, + how we're managing money in the interim engagement period of our lives.

What's your biggest money struggle as a couple?
Are all your accounts joined?
Any budgeting questions for me - or something you're nosy about?

Linking up with Amanda.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Friday Five #57

Happy Friday! Don't really have much to include in the way of intros // small talk today. I had big plans to test out a Beer Cheese Soup recipe this week, so I bought 2 blocks of cheese at the store. And then, knowing Mr. Sass is the resident cheese gobbler asked him specifically to save those for making soup. The next day I open the fridge to find 3/4 of one of the blocks gone - having been raided in the night by the cheese thief while I slept peacefully in our bed. He claimed having no knowledge of the don't eat the cheese conversation. But needless to say you bet I made his ass go get more, 'cause dammit if I didn't want some beer cheese soup!

Anyways, I'll be making beer cheese soup this weekend, assuming the gremlin can keep his hands off the cheese long enough for it to make it in the pot. Plus heading for a run & maybe a hike with friends.

one // Apparently I only took 3 pictures this whole week, and they're all of cake, so, yeah. On Monday, Mr. Sass headed to Oakmont Bakery to pick up 2 sample cakes + sample cookies. We had quite the time tasting everything & rating our favorites. While we're still not sure who we'll go with, the cake was delicious. But a little over zealous on the icing. I left an icing shell on my plate each time I had a slice.

two // I think I'm finally getting back into a groove with reading. I got a fine last July - and embarrassingly enough didn't read any more books in 2016, but I'm back. I read 2 in January, but cruised through The Pilots Wife in 2.5 lunch breaks. One of those books that sucks you in, even though it's a little predictable. I put a few things on hold at the library and am excited to return to reading on my lunch breaks. Anything I MUST put on my to-be-read list?

three // We're coming up on 2 years since my brother & I summitted Mt. Kilimanjaro together. I have a few posts about it on my travel page, but it's still hard to believe sometimes. And I'm getting the itch to do some other sort of crazy trek. Machu Picchu? Torres del Paine? I don't know the answer...but I do know this summit sunrise still gives me chills. The world just sort of stopped for a few minutes, but in the best way. Everything was quiet. I was exhausted from hiking all night, literally, we started hiking at 11PM, I turned around, and there was this.

four // Mr. Sass switched over to a "normal" schedule for the next 4 weeks. He'll be working daylight hours just like me, versus coming home at 11pm. But - what this really means, is he gets home before me, and thus is on dinner duty all month. I do the shopping ('cause I love it) and tell him what to make, but otherwise, it's done when I get home, 'cause man knows I get hangry. So, I will live in bliss for the next 24 days until he switches to some other sort of dumb shift.

five // I may not have actually taken more than a handful of pictures this week, but I did find some funnies...

What are you up to this weekend?
If there's food missing in your house - who done it?
If you have a beer cheese soup recipe you love, drop the link!

linking up with Heather, Amanda, AndreaTifDella & Katie