Tuesday, March 20, 2018


This past weekend, I went to Chicago for a work conference. I have become really involved in the teacher's union and so the whole conference was about that. It was a really good conference that caused me to think about how long I will stay in the classroom. It's a hard thing for me to think about, but I do think I have a lot to offer the education system outside of the classroom.

We didn't have a ton of time to explore, but I took full advantage. One of my favorite things to do is to explore a city alone. It's the introvert in me, and it also reminds me of my dream to move to Boston alone!
I found an Eloquii store (plus size clothing), which I was very excited about because they don't have one in Utah.  I also stopped by their Forever 21 because it has one of the biggest plus size collections, it was most of the second floor which was great.

St Patricks day was so fun to celebrate! The river really is neon, I had actually thought they already dyed it the day before because naturally it just has a green tint to it, but nooo.

This conference was really empowering, especially since West Virginia teachers just won their strike! Teachers need to advocate for themselves and not be afraid. Kudos to them and all who walked the picket lines.

I should have had someone take a picture of me instead of this crappy elevator selfie, but I was feeling my oats on St. Patrick's Day! My makeup was like sooo good for once.

This was for sure a highlight of the trip, we had a free Saturday night so I dragged some other teachers to see Hamilton with me. It was so amazing! I would highly recommend it!

Guys, I need to go back to Chicago with Mark, AKA Chef Boyardee, because the food was MAJORLY disappointing! We ate at Pizano's for deep dish and I found it pretty gross, I only ate a few bites of my pizza. Then we went to a popular place for hot dogs and not only was my hot dog SO soggy, but we waited almost two hours! Boo! 

Some fun highlights of the trip were
  • Our ├╝ber drive on the way to the airport was trying so hard to get us to take a detour and go eat Polish food at this grocery store. We also got the private Polish tour of Chicago! Haha
  • It's very funny to hang out with the people you work with professionally because you see a whole new side to them!
  • Per diem. Every work trip I have gone on they always give me way too freaking much, and I am NOT complaining. #shopping 
  • Since they gave me so much per diem, I tipped everyone. Maid, luggage guy, uber guy, I feel so baller just handing stacks of cash to everyone!
  • Having your own hotel room, eating the stuff from the mini fridge that later turned out to be $24 dollars, and watching TRADING. SPACES.
  • Only gaining .08 pounds despite completely going off my healthy eating train. I did however notice that I was not hungry for every meal, and that to me meant progress!
Overall, this weekend was really exhausting but also recharging in a weird way. I had a little bit of a breakdown yesterday because I just feel very inadequate in my classroom right now. I hated my last unit, and I don't feel like a very good teacher right now. I don't really have a direction of where I want to take my career, and I think it's important to stay in the classroom for a while if you want to do something else in education, but I'm very burned out. Especially around end of term, every student and parent needs me, everything is my fault, and I have to face failing students which is not fun. If you are a teacher and have any words of advice or encouragement, I'd love to hear them! I am trying to focus on the positive, like how much I love my students this year, and how lucky I am to be at my school, and all of that. 
As I'm typing this, I'm realizing that it's March, aka teacher death month, and I should give myself some credit. :) 
Thanks to the Education Association (union) for sending me on this trip! It was so inspiring.
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Sunday, March 11, 2018

your house buying questions ANSWERED!

Okay, after my last post about our big news, I opened up a google form with questions. A lot of the questions I got were duplicates, so I tried to combine them the best I could! I'm not an expert, I have actually learned from a little trial and error, but hindsight is 20/20. Keep in mind, these questions might be different if you have new construction.
Here are some shots from my phone of our new place! 

QUESTION: How did you determine what you can realistically afford? 
This was something we did last year, way before we started talking to anybody. We are not budget people, we don't have a reason to right now because we do not extravagantly spend. However if you asked us last year how much we spend in gas, or food, or entertainment a month we would look at you like ?? So we sat down together and estimated what we spend per month, and then for 3-4 months we double checked our math, essentially. We also knew that 25% rule that I mentioned in my last post, so we just figured it out! 
Here is a screenshot of our spreadsheet, with the categories we had. We then had our income and what we had leftover. Mark did a fancy excel algorithm. 

QUESTION: Who should be the first person you talk to when looking to buy a house?
The first person you should talk to is your loan officer to figure out how much you need to save and what your qualified for! 

QUESTION: How did you choose a loan officer and realtor and how did you know they were good?
I actually accidentally stumbled into this, so take that with a grain of salt. The secretary at my school had a daughter who, I know now is a loan officer, but at the time I thought she was a realtor, I didn't know a loan officer was a thing. THESE ARE THINGS THEY SHOULD TEACH YOU IN SCHOOL. Luckily I was able to eventually figure out that she handled the money and that I needed a realtor. Although, she was pretty awesome and could have done both! Haha
 Realtor was the same, it's my secretary's husband. If you aren't me and don't have the hook ups at you work, just ask people that you are friends with who have purchased a house! I would also ask realtors what they can do for you. It's free to have a realtor when you are buying a house, their cut comes from the seller. So essentially, you should get something out of hiring them. Sure they will hopefully do all your crappy paperwork and make the phone calls, etc, but it's nice to have a monetary kickback. Our realtor paid for our inspection (around $700-$900) and got our asking price down $5,000. So ask your realtor what costs they will cover and go with the realtor that will cover more costs! 

QUESTION: Who did you use for your loan officer and realtor?
We used Bill Freeze of Realty Path for our realtor. 
We used Emily Walbruch with Academy Mortgage, who was NOT a realtor, I realize now. Haha! However she is a great loan officer.  I truly cannot recommend her enough, I adore her. 

If you have any questions PLEASE email me, rileyjoblog@gmail.com or message me on ANY social media. I truly felt like no one had been through this or I didn't know anyone who wouldn't be annoyed by my questions (aside from Leah and my sister, hi guys!) , so I want to be a helper for anyone! 

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Sunday, March 4, 2018

a little debt to a lot of debt:buying our own place

You guys, let's get so real, this has been the longest two months of my life. I truly don't know that I looked forward to my wedding as much as I looked forward to this life event. 
Okay, a condo. But that's part of the story.
In January I wrote about my word of the year which was patience. The year of 2018 was supposed to be a time of saving money and being patient until we could buy a house. 
Then. We looked.
Never look.
Just kidding, we are extremely glad we did. But you know. Never look.
Our friends actually got us looking because they were about to buy a house, and the logic they had for getting into a house and building equity (let me just casually throw in the word equity here, like an adult) in a place that's growing like crazy made total sense to us.  This hadn't come out totally of the blue, we had been talking to a loan officer since last year to try and figure out what we wanted to do. Last year we didn't look, we just tried to figure out what we could afford, how much of a down payment we needed, etc. But after multiple conversations with our friends we were like yeah, this totally makes sense.  
So we started looking. Turns out, you qualify for houses you can't actually afford! We qualified for a $450,000 house, and thinking we were super responsible and budget friendly, we were looking in the $350,000 range. We were looking for our forever house! 
SPOILER: No way in hell we can afford a $450,000 house. We know that now. But that could have been sketchy sketch sketch. 
We found some places we loved, but after crunching numbers for what felt like eternities we realized we probably wouldn't be able to travel (or eat, put gas in our cars, pay our phone bill, etc). That wasn't okay with us(especially the eating part)
So we stopped looking, somewhat to the conclusion we would rent for a year or two longer.
I mean, I told Mark we were done looking. 
I still looked, because hello, welcome to me. 
Out of curiosity I started to look at options that were muchhhhh cheaper. Those muchhhhh cheaper places were actually very nice. Sure, you may have to share a wall with someone, but you could also go on more than a few vacations a year(and ya know, eat)
Through this process I realized that we 100% did not need to be looking for our forever house. We are 26, our plans are for sure going to change, we won't want to be in a place forever and what were we even thinking! We also learned, thanks to many phone calls with my Dad, that your mortgage should only be 25% of your gross monthly income. Thanks Dave Ramsey! (Don't let yourself be oversold, it's super dangerous and I get anxiety thinking about what would have happened if we would have gotten the $350,000 house) 
Once we figured that extremely obvious fact out, things went very fast. As in, the next day we had an offer in on our place.
That's the thing with Utah County, and maybe just Utah in general, things go quick. Like, we had an hour to decide, quick. Luckily it was really obvious, but it's a super stressful process because you have this place you LOVE, and you don't want anyone else to have it, but it's the biggest decision you have made up to this point in your life and so you kind of want to think about it, but also Brady the realtor needs to know right friggin now!!!!!(we trust our realtor and there were other occasions he told us we would be fine to have some think time, but this was not one of those times).
So, we put an offer in. Something much more affordable and the best part, brand new. We are the first people to live there. They just finished a few weeks ago. 
So we had all of this adrenaline and we were ready to move fast and close this sucker up when..
(brakes, like a sound effect, ya feel?) 
Yeah, turns out buying a house takes a real long time. It was weird because at first everyone was like "k, hurry! hurry! hurry! let's go!" and then as soon as we committed everything slowed right down, to the point that sometimes I had to be like "soo...we still buying a house and stuff?" but once a week or so we would get a cute little video from our loan officer (who has been wonderful and I would totally recommend her if you need someone) telling us what was going on with our loan, so we were assured that things were moving forward. 
Even though things were moving forward, it still didn’t feel like a sure thing. They even told us not to buy furniture or get too excited until we were a few days away from closing, so we window shopped and tried really hard not to get excited, which was not super easy. The further along we got in the process that harder it was to be patient in our basement apartment that we outgrew. 
Luckily, we eventually got the "this is a pretty freakin sure thing" and we were able to start getting excited! 
We got to our closing date, successfully closed and got the keys the next day! That was on Tuesday, and we have spent the entire week moving our stuff in! Last night was the first night we slept here. Last night, we got a cheat meal from R&R, I took a bath that was in my own place for the first time in over 6 years, we laid on our couch and watched TV. It felt so perfect, and we are so truly happy to be on our own.

I wanted to leave on one last thought...
I was kind of embarrassed for people to know that we bought a condo. I didn't want to tell anyone, purposefully trying to leave it vague so that people didn't judge us. It was then I realized that social media has GOTTEN TO ME.  I would never consider myself a person who gets jealous/plays the comparison game with social media. I don't really get jealous to the point of detriment about people's clothes, cars, children, food, travels etc. but apparently I was playing the comparison game with houses.
I have realized that I have seen so many people my age that I follow buying houses, big houses where they don't have to share a wall with anyone. I was so embarrassed by our condo, humiliated by the fact that it was all we could afford. I didn't really know anyone who bought something as small as a condo, at least I wasn't seeing it online, so I felt like we were not normal for only being able to afford a small place at the beginning. Then I realized that building a shiny, brand new house when you are 26 is the thing that is not normal, as in, it's not for everyone.  It's been a very good life lesson for me. That is why I wanted to post a lot about our place, to show that someone can be excited for this point in their life, even if we do share a wall with a stranger. This is a big life moment, and it deserves to be celebrated too. I hope this very obvious thing can help someone in the future!

Speaking of helping, when we were trying to buy our place, we had so many questions and there just was not any adequate resources online that helped me to feel confident as we went through this process. I want to write a post of questions that can hopefully help some of you that are buying for the first time.
If you want to submit a question, click here. I'm hoping to get that up next week!

Thanks to everyone for being excited for us! We are on cloud nine. Here are some pictures from our listing, I'm excited to get it all finished and take some pictures. 

bedroom 1

bedroom two


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