When thoughts seem to spiral out of control and I can’t get a grasp on my equilibrium, I have to remember that I am worth the struggle.

For all the times that I am trapped in my own head, for all the times my face was wet with tears… for all the times that I wondered for the umpteenth time what the heck was wrong with me, I have to remember that I am worth the struggle.

When melancholy strikes, and Billie Holiday knows my heart, I feel at a loss. Caught between the words, the inertia slams into me, and I can’t quite catch my breath.

But I press on.

Because I am worth the struggle.

When the die is cast and my thoughts loom large, the corners of my mouth are down-turned. When the violin plays and the chords cross my heart, I feel the gentle sways of sadness.

My lashes heavy with heartache, I succumb for a while and let the brokenness wash over me.

But I get up.

Because I am worth the struggle.

I. Am. Worth. The. Struggle.

So y’all know I love the beach. One of the things that drove me crazy about my previous residence was how far away we were from the beach. I loooooove the ocean and the smell of the salty air.

Living where I do in Oregon, we are only about an hour and change from the beach, but it’s all good because the drive to even get there is gorgeous and full of trees :)

There is so much to do in Oregon, but a trip to see the beautiful ocean was needed. An excursion to Cannon Beach was in order!


I’d seen pictures of Cannon Beach in magazines, but until you see these ginormous rocks in person…pictures honestly don’t do it enough justice :)



Don’t the people on the beach look like ants compared to that huge rock?


There is a lovely little town that encompasses this beautiful beach complete with shops and restaurants, and… a library!

Yes, I know. Yes, I am talking about a library and the beach in the same post. However, outside this library they had the cutest bench and I just had to snap some pics!


And up above the bench are:



Edgar Allen Poe!

Edgar Allan Poe!

We ate lunch at Bill’s Tavern which, let me tell you, is worth every penny!


Seriously. Eat here.

Have you ever been to Cannon Beach?

You know what’s good about living in Portland? Powell’s Bookstore. You know what’s bad for my wallet? Powell’s Bookstore :)

Luckily, I have held myself to only buying two books (used, so they were at a good price), but I have a weakness when it comes to that store. I’m Superman and that’s my kryptonite, yo…

Anyways, I digress. I’ve been reading, and it looks like I will surpass last year’s goal of reading 36 books in a 12 month span. I purposely didn’t set a reading goal for myself for 2014, since I knew I would have a lot going in the first half of the year.

Here is what I have read so far:

  • Proof of Guilt by Charles Todd
  • The Everything Budgeting Book by Tere Stouffer


  • No Graves As Yet by Anne Perry
  • Shoulder the Sky by Anne Perry
  • Angels in the Gloom by Anne Perry
  • Hunting Shadows by Charles Todd
  • Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle


  • At Some Disputed Barricade by Anne Perry
  • We Shall Not Sleep by Anne Perry
  • Question of Honor by Charles Todd
  • Death at Wentwater Court by Carola Dunn
  • The Winter Garden Mystery by Carola Dunn
  • Requiem for a Mezzo by Carola Dunn
  • The Secret of Red Gate Farm by Carolyn Keene
  • Murder on the Flying Scotsman by Carola Dunn
  • Damsel in Distress by Carola Dunn
  • Dead in the Water by Carola Dunn
  • Selected Poems of Sylvia Plath written by Sylvia Plath


  • Heirs of the Body by Carola Dunn
  • Styx and Stones by Carola Dunn
  • Rattle His Bones by Carola Dunn
  • To Davy Jones Below by Carola Dunn
  • The Case of the Murdered Muckraker by Carola Dunn
  • Mistletoe and Murder by Carola Dunn
  • The Clue in the Diary by Carolyn Keene
  • The Everything Guide to Gluten-Free Living by Jeanine Friegen
  • Nancy’s Mysterious Letter by Carolyn Keene
  • Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War by Max Hastings


  • Gluten-Free Girl by Shauna James Ahern
  • The Message in the Hollow Oak by Carolyn Keene
  • The Mystery of the Ivory Charm by Carolyn Keene
  • A Mourning Wedding by Carola Dunn
  • The Walnut Tree by Charles Todd
  • Fall of a Philanderer by Carola Dunn

34 books so far and it’s only August! Awww yeah!!

Have you guys read any good books lately? Any recommendations? :)


Everyone wants to save some money when furnishing a new place, right? I hear you. We were in the same predicament. We moved up to Oregon from Southern California with only what would fit into our two cars, so… you guessed it… No furniture, no lamps, no dishes, pretty much nada!

We needed these items because candlelight is all fine and dandy, but it does get dark, and lamps help me from not running into things. We also didn’t want to spend all our hard-earned money on furnishings. So we did things on a budget with as little impact to our wallet as possible.

We scoured Craigslist. We hit up Goodwill. We went to consignment stores. And we completely lucked out at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

I mean, look at these solid wood end tables we found!



I love them, and they remind me of the table that my grandmother had in her living room. Every time I look at them, I am reminded of her :)

Perfect for storage!

Perfect for storage!

And the best part honestly, was the price. They were listed at 2 end tables for $25, but they were marked off an additional 25% off, so we got both end tables for a little less than $17!!!!

Awwwwwww yeah!!

I also mentioned that we needed lamps. Because although the sun sets late up here, it still gets dark eventually, and that whole running into walls, clumsy sort of thing, well I do that. So I need to see.

Ta-da! Aren’t these pewter grey lamps just the cat’s meow??



Love, love, love them!

I found these babies at Goodwill for $6.99 a piece and snatched up both of them! These lamps are quite tall, and I know my picture may not do it justice, but they really are beautiful. And solid. And pewter grey. Did I mention that? :)

Good stuff is out there folks, if you just look hard enough!

Have you guys picked up any great deals through Goodwill or the Habitat for Humanity ReStore? Any other places that have great deals? Let me know! :)

Hello Oregon!

Yup, we made it! I still can’t believe I am here, amongst all this tree-filled gloriousness, but I am :)



My family and I drove up here over a 2 day period. Southern California to Redding, and then Redding to Portland. Can you say exhausting? Have you ever travelled with a 4 year-old and a cat? Have you???? E-vent-ful, mmmkay? ;)

Oh and by the way, Redding was bloody hot. Like, the sun was directly beaming all of its rays on this city, and you felt like your skin was on fire. But dinner in a nice air-conditioned restaurant, soon rectified that. Ahhh, air conditioning.

So after lots of coffee, tears, greasy food, and multiple gas station pit stops, we made it to our new home! There is still lots to do though…like get a couch. We seriously drove up here with what would fit into our 2 cars and that’s it. So needless to say, we are in need of some things…like seating arrangements ;) As my husband would readily assert, I am a neat and organized person, so the fact that my new place is still in a bit of disarray, is driving me cray-cray. Neat-freaks, are ya with me?

I hope to get back to blogging normally and on a schedule soon. But first I need to get a couch. And I need my pictures hung on the walls.

And chocolate. I need chocolate.

Dear California

Dear California,

The earth shifts beneath my feet, and I roam your hills. The sun kisses my face and I feel your warmth.

Oh California, you were my first love. You breathed life into me before I even knew you. I will miss your high-speed winds, and the tumbleweeds that blew down my street when I was just a girl.

I will miss the drives down PCH, blaring the radio, drinking in the smell of the ocean. I will miss your blazing sunsets, your sandy intricacies, your aura of golden happiness.

You gave me so much happiness, California. I met my wonderful husband here and breathed life into my beautiful baby girl beneath your sun.

Your amazing opportunities allowed my dad to raise me in a quiet town nestled beneath the mountains, wrapped in 80’s nostalgia, glimmering just on the edge of big city life.

Thank you California for the beautiful memories of college. They were some of the best years of my life and I’ll never forget them.

As my recollections become mere whispers, I’ll never forget you my first love. As your sun-kissed summers become a distant memory, I will always treasure my time on your sandy shores.

I love you California, and you’ll always hold a special place in my heart

Love, Mackenzie

Happy July friends!

My wonderful friend and fellow blogger Shannon Ryan has written a children’s book! It is called The Lemonade Stand and the yellow cover caught my daughter’s eye immediately:


My daughter and I have read the book together several times, she loves it so much. She’s even asked Grandpa to read it to her!

The book is a great read for kids. It follows the adventures of two boys named Ryan and Christopher who have a case of “the wants” and want the instant gratification of Mom buying a ball and a racing car while at the store. Mom says no, but when they meet up with their good friends Lauren and Taylor, the girls show the boys how they can earn enough money to purchase what they want, and learn how to save money for the future at the same time.

They open a lemonade stand!


By running and operating a lemonade stand, Lauren and Taylor show Ryan and Christopher, “how easy it is to save, spend, and share”, the money they earn. After paying back their parents for the supplies for the lemonade stand, they split the remainder of the money four ways :)


Each child puts a couple of dollars into savings, and then purchases an item that they really want, such as popsicles, perfect for a hot summer day!

It is really a super cute book and kudos to Shannon for putting it all together!

And guess what readers? Head over to The Heavy Purse and purchase Shannon’s book and save $3 by using code (TOUR3114)

Shannon is hosting a giveaway to help celebrate the release of The Lemonade Stand! Want to win an iPad? :) Ya know ya do!


The Lemonade Stand – iPad Mini Giveaway

July 14-31, 2014

Sponsored by The Heavy Purse

Co-hosted by Are Ya Gonna Eat That, Broke Millennial, Budget and The Beach, Budget Blonde</>, Budgeting for More, Busy Mom Budgets, Cash Cow Couple, Cents and Sensibility, Club Thrifty, Color Me Frugal, Debt Debs, Debt Roundup, Disease Called Debt, Eat Laugh Purr, Enemy of Debt, Eyes on the Dollar, Femme Frugality, Financially Blonde, Frugal Rules, Living Richly Cheaply, Luke 1428, Making Sense of Cents, Money Saving Dude, Monster Piggy Bank, Not Now Mom’s Busy, Reach Financial Independence, Shoeaholic No More, Tackling Our Debt, The Broke and Beautiful Life, The Finance Girl, The Frugal Farmer, The Random Path, Thrifty Dad and Young Adult Money.

Join Lauren and Taylor in their continuing money adventures in The Lemonade Stand by Shannon Ryan, CFP®. Shannon is a Mom on a mission to help busy parents teach their children simple, value-based principles that guide their money decisions and support their long-term financial well-being.

“Everyone handles money. Unfortunately, not everyone does it with confidence. Money has long been a taboo topic in many homes, which makes it even harder for parents to know where to start or what to teach. So I created a series of children books to help parents ease into these important conversations. Financial literacy is one of the most loving gifts you can give your children, and I encourage everyone to make money conversations a priority in your home.”

We’re Giving Away an iPad Mini to One Lucky Reader!

Help us celebrate the release of The Lemonade Stand and join Shannon in her mission to increase financial literacy in both children and adults.

The giveaway runs from July 14-31, 2014 and is open worldwide.*

Ready to read The Lemonade Stand in style? Then Sign-Up for the iPad Mini Giveaway today!

* A winner located outside of the United States will receive a cash equivalent prize via PayPal.



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